Seven members of staff have resigned from St. Ignatius Catholic School and at least two donors have requested refunds of contributions to the school, following questions over the institution’s financial records.
The Archdiocese of Detroit, which oversees the Cayman Islands parish, said most of the recent resignations had been for “personal reasons” and reassured that vacant positions would be or had been filled.
As of Friday, 9 Oct., St. Ignatius continued to recruit for at least six of the seven positions. In the Cayman Compass classifieds that day, the school advertised six openings: a subject leader for mathematics, one French and Spanish teacher, two English teachers and two mathematics teachers.
“All positions have since been filled or are being actively recruited. The school has placed priority on advertising and filling these positions with highly qualified candidates so that the students don’t miss a beat in their educations,” said Holly Fournier, associate director of communications for the archdiocese.
The financial questions at the school have mobilised a group of St. Ignatius school parents, who are demanding answers from the archdiocese over allegations of mismanagement.
A notice of non-compliance from the non-profit organisations’ registrar was issued to St. Ignatius Catholic School and Church on 17 Sept.
Since then, a parent group says it has consistently reached out to the archdiocese for answers. A 6 Oct. email update from the group, however, alleged the archdiocese had blocked their email addresses and that phone calls had gone unanswered.
The archdiocese acknowledged it had received emails from the parents and Fournier said the messages were being reviewed.
“The Archdiocese of Detroit and Father Naveen D’Souza have received a number of emails from the St. Ignatius community and have been working together to address each concern shared with us,” Fournier wrote the Compass.
“We understand that some in the community have been anticipating a very quick reply and ask that they understand it takes time to thoroughly review such important matters and to prepare an appropriate response. With that said, I understand that earlier this afternoon [Thursday] Father Naveen sent a detailed reply to members of the HSA [Home School Association] Parent’s Governance & Transparency Sub Committee. We look forward to continuing to work with the community going forward.”
The parent group has now taken its concerns to government. The Ministry of Education confirmed it had received a letter from the group.
“We are currently in the process of assessing its contents to determine whether the matter warrants an investigation,” a ministry statement said.
Fournier confirmed two individuals had requested their charitable contributions be returned and said the school had accepted their requests.
Regarding questions over the school’s planned sports hall, Fournier said the project would move forward, stating, “The school remains committed to the Sports Hall project as it is a much needed facility for the students.They anticipate building construction to begin in early 2021.”