The school, which is part of the St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church parish, in which each building is as old as any other, had been the school of choice for many children of some of the more prominently important and wealthy families of our community.
A letter penned by Administrator Father Dave Casaleggio and Principal James Machinski explained very clearly the sad reality of why the school succumbed to financial disaster: “This decision was the result of a painstaking, months-long review of enrollment numbers, financial capability, as well as plant and facility needs.”
Many people are wondering why the school did not notify the community of the closing and perhaps the money could have been raised to keep the school open.
I don’t know Principal Machinski, but I think I know Father Dave fairly well, and I know how many wealthy people in our city will do anything and everything for Father Dave.
All he would have to do is sit in his office and start making phone calls to all those wealthy people that he knows and start collecting tons of money.
Many of those wealthy people, like the Chairman of the State Republican Party, Michael McDonald, has in the past borrowed money from Father Dave before Mc Donald himself became wealthy enough to be driving around town in a limousine of his own with an Irish 1 license plate.
However, there I go again, with my paranoia and my suspicious mind, as Elvis Presley once sang, creating doubt in most people’s minds.
I believe that a wealthy downtown tycoon, or wannabe tycoon, is interested in that property located in a prime real estate corner of our city and that is why the closing of the school has been kept under wraps, in secrecy, concealed from the public.
In my humble opinion, whoever is behind this decision of closing the school – most likely for profit – may have an ulterior motive and soon we may see the construction trucks raising a new “something” in that corner that isn’t an educational institution.
Perhaps Zappo’s is one of those materialistic groups behind the closing of St. Joseph Catholic School with the blessing of many city officials and Zappo’s followers.
On Zappo’s website, part of its mission statement says, “We are a group of passionate people committed to helping to transform Downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world…”
Well maybe, only maybe, they will live up to their mission statement and want to transform Downtown Las Vegas to include the school where its employees can drop off their children on their way to work.
Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh once said that he wants employees to interact with each other, building personal relationships at work and outside of work as well.
Hsieh recently moved his headquarters from Henderson to downtown Las Vegas in the old Las Vegas city hall only a few blocks from the now closed St. Joseph’s Catholic School. Is that a mere coincidence? or is it my suspicious mind working overtime?
I was wondering why millionaire casino tycoon Michael Gaughan, who attended the now defunct school, did not mobilize his team of experts and political backers to get some kind of favor from Governor Sandoval and other wealthy individuals who most likely would have pitched in just to be on the good side of the casino mogul.
How about Piero’s owner, Fred Glassman? Yes, I know that Freddy Glassman doesn’t like to let his money go so easily, but if Father Dave asked, he most likely would have pitched in.
And Ted Jones? I am not sure if the king of the automobiles is that close to Father Dave, but one of Father Dave’s closest friends works for Ted Jones selling Mercedes Benz and he could have made the connection for the good priest who is well liked by everyone.
The more names I mention the more I believe that someone with lots of clout is in the middle of this transaction. I would hate to find out that Father Dave himself is involved in this manipulation to destroy such a landmark in our beloved city.
I have nothing but respect and admiration for Father Dave. I have received communion from Father Dave on many, many occasions and would be very disappointed if he is involved in such a despicable and horrible manipulation.
I met Father Dave many years ago while visiting an inmate at High Desert Correctional Center where he used to visit and guide the inmates in that facility. Since then, I have followed Father Dave to every church where he offers his services.
I think God did the right thing when he made me a very poor man because if I had the money that all those mentioned above have, I would go to bat to keep St. Joseph Catholic School open, right there were it’s always been – if only to keep that part of Las Vegas history alive.
I have to agree with parents that are wondering why they were not notified sooner of the financial dilemma.
The closing of the school without informing the public and the parents of the financial woes leaves the question open as to why Father Dave and Principal James Machinski – and even the school board – said not word one instead of reaching out to the parents and the entire community, including its new neighbor, Zappos.
My name is Rolando Larraz, and as always, I approved this column.
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