The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 8, 2008

McCort control given to board of trustees

With an eye toward fundraising and keeping Catholic education affordable, control of Bishop McCort High School was turned over to a board of trustees Wednesday to be run as an independent corporation.

The board will be responsible for operations at the high school, including policy development, hiring of a principal, marketing and budget.

As one of its first acts, the board signed Principal Ken Salem to a five-year contract.

McCort will maintain its Catholic identity, but the role of the diocese in paying the bills will be reduced. This already has occurred at Bishop Guilfoyle and a nonprofit will be created for Bishop Carroll at 1 p.m. Oct. 20.

“This diocesan church and I, as the bishop, will continue to be connected with our Catholic high schools in a number of ways,” Bishop Joseph Adamec said at a ceremony at McCort. “This includes financial support to the extent that is possible.”

Afterward, Adamec said he did not have the figures available as to what the diocese now pays annually, nor would he project how much the diocese’s outlay would drop.

He explained how the move to become a corporation could profit the high school.

“If the actual oversight is in local hands, there would be more confidence of locals – and even industry – to contribute,” he said.

Before, he said, the three high schools were under one umbrella. Now, contributors can be assured the money will stay local.

“This day has been long in coming,” Adamec said. “It is a good day.”

Sister Donna Marie Leiden, education director for the Altoona-Johnstown Roman Catholic Diocese and member of the McCort board, pledged McCort would stay “a strong spiritual center.”

Dan Hummel, chairman of Bishop McCort Catholic High School Inc., praised all parties involved in the new configuration.

“From the beginning, everyone’s motivation has been on the kids,” he said.

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