Reporter Sandra Swain's article regarding the schools of Star of the Sea and the parish of St. Mary's was filled with baseless facts and misrepresentation ("Star of Sea in turmoil over funds," The Daily Astorian, Jan. 30). While statements attributed to the Portland archdiocese are accurate and true, the comments made by Walt Postlewait are completely false.
It is true that the school is struggling financially, as many organizations in this troubled economy are. We are currently operating with a deficit of more than $55,000, and our constituents are working hard to overcome this shortfall and pay all of our financial obligations by the end of the school year.
Walt Postlewait stated that there was a $40,000 surplus of funds after last school year. In fact, we had a deficit of more than double the amount of this year's deficit, which can be directly attributed to the creation of a school bus system, which produced chronic cost over-runs. because of the high cost of transportation, we had to curtail our bus service and decrease our expenditures.
On the revenue side of the school budget, we raise only 50 percent of our operating revenue through tuition. The other 50 percent is raised partially through fund-raising in the broader community, but the primary source of additional funding comes through the generous support of our parish community.
Our school would not exist if it was not for the magnanimous actions of our parish and the archdiocese. Every student at the school in effect receives a direct subsidy from our parish community, which Postlewait is not a member of.
It is blatantly false that our school is about to shut its doors. While Fr. Ted Prentice's actions have hurt our community, the real damage is in the division within our Catholic faith. Without our church, there is no Star of the Sea School. We need the support of all in this community to survive. Prentice's actions are being dealt with internally by our church and through the archdiocese, and he deserves to receive due process.
Michael C. Covert
Star of the Sea School Advisory Council
Star of the Sea Parish Member and Star Parent
Managing Editor's Note: There was an error in reporting the initial story. In fact, Walt Postlewait said that he believed a budget being drawn up for the current school year projected a $40,000 surplus. The newspaper regrets the error.