MIAMI (CBS4) – A Miami charter school which serves inner cities kids has received notice from the Archdiocese of Miami that it will be shut down this August.
At a time when Pope Francis said the Catholic Church needs to do a better job of reaching out to the poor and underprivileged, Miami's River Cities middle school received a letter from the Archdiocese addressed to "Whom It May Concern" advising them of the closure.
"It was very much a punch in the gut," said the school principal Connie Crawford.
Crawford said because they've only been given approximately 180 days, they won't have time to get permits to open the school in a new location. River Cities serves 150 students, most of them facing socio-economic challenges; 85 percent qualify for the free lunch program and many have learning deficits.
"We're also a second home to them. A lot of them do have rough home lives and I feel, for eight hours a day, we're their home," said teacher Katie Flynn.
So why the eviction in the fourth year of their five year lease? Crawford said the Archdiocese has mentioned wear and tear issues on the building but has tried to resolve them. She added that when she tried to talk to the Archdiocese about what can be done, she's been given the proverbial cold shoulder.
"Well, can we sit down and talk about it? Is there a way to work this out? Is there a way to talk about this? There's been no communication of any kind," said Crawford.
A spokesperson for the Archdiocese told CBS4 that "The pastor there has made the decision he no longer wants the school in the facility. That decision is final."
John Moradel, a 7th grader, said he's heartbroken that he won't be able to return next year.
"This school is a great school. I study and do good things here," said Moradel.
Next year Moradel and his classmates face the process of returning to two public schools which serve 1,500 students.
Parents, teachers and students say they have faith, and hope, that the Archdiocese will change its mind.
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