'Save Redemptorist' proposal rejected, Diocese wants to sell the school

'Save Redemptorist' hopes proposal will help keep school open

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - During the last week in January, Catholic Schools nationwide celebrate education. However, for the alumni of Redemptorist Junior and Senior High, this week is anything but festive. Some graduates of the school are asking why a proposal by Save Redemptorist was rejected, but a charter school is getting tours.

"The diocese has forgotten about that school," said Lawrence Robillard, by phone.

Robillard is a 1989 graduate of the school and is now president of the Redemptorist Alumni Association.

His feelings have been echoed in post after post on the Save Redemptorist Facebook page.

Graduates say years ago, things started going bad in the 90's when Catholic leaders shut down the schools alumni association.

9News is told seven years ago, a group of alumni went to the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge and asked what needed to be done at Redemptorist to make improvements, but their questions were never answered.

"They've wanted to shut us down for 20 plus years," Robillard said.

Another graduate said had they been clued in on the situation at Redemptorist when they asked years ago, they would have started trying to save the school years ago.

Robillard says in addition to capitol improvements the campus is in need of, he's been told by teachers when it comes to research, students get better wifi access on their cellphones that the school computers.

What it all boils down to he says, is money.

"If they can get one tenant out of their building and not have to give them money to stay afloat - and they can bring somebody else in and it's all profit, that's a no-brainer," Robillard said, speaking about the diocese. "From a business standpoint I do understand what the diocese is doing but I don't agree with it."

Save Redemptorist made a recent proposal that asked the diocese to give the school to them over a two year period. Their proposal was turned down. The Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge cited "long term viability." But the group points out, whether the school survived would not be an issue for the diocese, since after two years Save Redemptorist would be involved in running the school.

The buzz now, alumni are hearing the diocese wants to sell the property to a charter school. Something many believe may have been the plan all along.

"We were told that during the Christmas break, two schools looked at the campus," Robillard said. "They did not tell us what type of schools they were, but I do know it was shown twice."

9News questioned the Catholic Diocese about this. A spokesperson would only say that is not an option, and they are only focused on an organized closing of Redemptorist at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Save Redemptorist has now drafted another proposal, asking the diocese what the value of the school is. Alumni involved with the group say they may make an offer to buy the property.

So far, they group has not gotten a response.

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