Citizens For A Better Norwood

Friday, December 12, 2008

Poll: Should City Council okay St. Aloysius school?

This article in today's Enquirer details the concerns Norwood residents have about the prospect of St. Aloysius Orphanage moving its elementary school into the former Holy Trinity School. St. Aloysius wants to buy Holy Trinity strictly to teach children K-8 who have severe emotional and behavior issues. According to the orphanage’s chief operations officer Joan Tumblison, St. Aloysius maintains one teacher for every four students with each classroom having eight students and two teachers and keeps the children under “constant watch.”

Here's what three residents had to say about the issue:

Karen Rettig, 34-year resident: “This isn’t what I want two blocks from my home.” She said she once worked in the office of a local orphanage that handled children with similar issues as the St. Aloysius children. “To me, they’re a danger to themselves and to the community unless they have a lot of security, They would have to put a fence around the school so that the kids won’t throw a fit and then go running out into the community.”

Patricia Fenton, who lives two doors from the school, said she would worry about the safety of her 6-year-old and 4-year-old children. “(The students) will be hanging around at the school,” she said. “I really don’t want my children exposed to that.”

Charlie Bodley, who lives on the same street as Holy Trinity, said he’d much rather see St. Aloysius use the building than let it remain vacant and vulnerable to vandals.
The fate of the controversial proposal is in the hands of Norwood officials.

According to the Enquirer, opponents argue St. Aloysius’ facility would function more as a treatment center than a school. That change of use for the Holy Trinity building could justify Norwood’s rejecting the orphanage’s proposal. However, the orphanage says only its private, chartered elementary school, just like the former Holy Trinity school, would occupy the site and that all its other programs, including foster care and short-term group homes, would remain at its Reading Road location in Bond Hill.

The Norwood Planning Commission will decide Dec. 17 whether to recommend issuing a zoning certificate and a building permit for minor interior renovations to St. Aloysius. City Council has the final decision. A decision against St. Aloysius could result in a discrimination lawsuit against Norwood, said Joe Trauth, an orphanage attorney.

With the possibility of a lawsuit thrown into the mix, how do our readers think City Council should decide this difficult issue? We hope you’ll weigh in on this unscientific poll:

Should council approve the zoning certificiate and building permit?
Not sure free polls