OAKLAND — St. Bernard's Elementary School, a Catholic school in Oakland that has served low-income and Latino students for many decades, will not reopen after the holiday break.
The school serves students in kindergarten to eighth grade and has 75 students enrolled, said parent Elizabeth Saldana, who herself graduated from the school in 1981.
Sister Barbara Bray, superintendent for the Catholic Schools diocese of Oakland, was not available for comment today, but Saldana said parents have been told the school needs an additional $38,000 a month to stay open.
"They told us, 'We're sorry. We have no money,'" Saldana said.
St. Bernard's has offered to transfer students to St. Jarlath's School, which is about 3½ miles away. The school would bus youngsters from St. Bernard's on 62nd Avenue to St. Jarlath's on Pleasant Street and back again, Saldana said.
Parents learned of the closure last week and protested along with students Sunday outside Oakland Diocese headquarters.
"They didn't give us a chance to work on this," Saldana said. "They are just telling us now right before Christmas. When the kids were told, they all cried. I cried."
Saldana said she has a consultant's report from 2004 that details how the school could have stayed financially solvent. She said those suggestions were never implemented. School officials did not return calls for comment today.
Saldana, who has two children at the school, is also frustrated because she believes in the education there.
"I live in Hayward," she said. "I don't have to bring my kids all the way over there, but I do because of the education. I am who I am because of St. Bernard's."