Plans to keep the St. Germaine Catholic School open were presented to parents at a meeting on Feb. 15.

Plans to keep the St. Germaine Catholic School open were presented to parents at a meeting on Feb. 15.

Photo by Alyssa Ochss

Effort underway to save St. Germaine Catholic School

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 15, 2024


“It’s just a very special place and that’s why people want so bad to save it."

John Carlisle , St. Germaine Catholic School parent

Fundraising is now underway to support a parent-led effort to keep the St. Germaine Catholic School in St. Clair Shores open.  

According to an email sent Feb. 13 by principal Colleen Maciejewski to the school's parents, a proposal was made to save the school, which was slated to close by the end of this academic year. 

The proposal was written by Michael Kaddis, a parent at St. Germaine.

“I am grateful to Father Joe, the parish financial council, our Family of Parishes and to the Archdiocese of Detroit for their openness to considering this proposal and granting approval for the group to move forward with the process,” Maciejewski stated in the email.

The Rev. Joe Barron said in a letter, sent on Jan. 16, that the school near Martin Road and Little Mack Avenue has been running at a deficit of around $150,000 for many years. He also stated in the letter that the Our Lady of Hope Parish had been subsidizing the deficit, which was possible due to money gained from the sale of the St. Gertrude Campus, but that the funds have run out. 

Barron said the other part of the subsidy was taken from the regular operating budget of the parish “often in lieu of paying other bills.”

Efforts were made to lower this deficit over the years “including low salaries for teachers, fundraisers for textbooks and supplies, etc.,” Barron said in the letter.

Maciejewski said in the email that while this proposal does not guarantee the school will stay open, “it does represent an openness from all parties to explore the possibility together.”

“The focus now shifts to ensuring that all parameters set forth in the proposal are met diligently,” the email said. “This includes significant fundraising, adhering to financial guidelines, and meeting enrollment targets, among other requirements.”

The deadline to meet all requirements is March 1. Information was provided at a meeting for parents on Feb. 15, where the details of the proposal were presented. 

John Carlisle, who has a seventh grader at St. Germaine and is also an alumnus of the school, said parents received the email about the proposal on Feb. 13. He said they have been working for weeks to come up with a plan to save the school.

“Now, the archdiocese has given us two weeks to try to save the school and we think we can do it,” Carlisle said.

There were ongoing meetings between the archdiocese and the parents at St. Germaine before the proposal was announced.

“They set the bar high, but I think we can go higher,” Carlisle said.

He said as of now, they need 150 kids enrolled, $150,000 in donations and $150,000 pledged for the future to save the school.

When the potential closure was announced in January, St. Germaine Catholic School had 163 students enrolled in preschool through eighth grade, according to the Archdiocese of Detroit. 

Carlisle said donations were not collected previously because they weren’t officially allowed to ask until now. Contributions can now be made online through the Archdiocese of Detroit’s website. 

“It’s like a race,” Carlisle said. “Suddenly, the starter pistol went off and we have to start now. But until we had this agreement in place, we couldn’t ask anyone for anything.”

There are no fundraising events planned as of yet due to the suddenness of the information, Carlisle said.

“This came up very suddenly and so we’re scrambling to react to it and come up with ideas,” Carlisle said. “It’s a fluid situation but I think there will be many opportunities for people to contribute.”

He also said the good thing about the situation is that if the school is shut down, the money people donate and the money put down by families that register for the school will be refunded.

“Nobody has anything to lose in this. It’s risk free,” Carlisle said.

He said there is still time to enroll at the school.

“We’re not past that date. There’s plenty of time and all of the other school’s deadlines haven’t hit yet, either,” Carlisle said. “So people do have time still to make this their choice.”

He called the school a second home.

“You can drop your kids off there and know they’re safe,” Carlisle said. “It’s like dropping them off with family members. Everyone takes care of everyone there.”

He said it’s an atmosphere of kindness and nice behavior, where kids who are different aren’t picked on but protected.

“It’s just a very special place and that’s why people want so bad to save it,” Carlisle said.

In her email, Maciejewski added, “Together, I am confident that we can overcome any challenges and work toward a bright future for our beloved community.”

To contribute to the St. Germaine Catholic School Fund and support the effort to keep the school open, go to

Call Staff Writer Alyssa Ochss at (586) 498-1103.