The Archdiocese of Baltimore has reached an agreement with a businessman who will subsidize busses to schools that are receiving students from closing institutions.
Sean Caine, communications director for the archdiocese, said that Daniel Schuster agreed to provide $200,000 for bus transportation for children in need in Baltimore City. Schuster said he hopes the partnership is long-term.
Schuster, who owns Schuster Concrete Construction, had run a series of radio advertisements critical of Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien’s decision to close 13 schools in June because of financial and enrollment issues.
In the advertisements, Schuster recommended listeners not give to collections at Mass and said that he would give $700,000 to keep open some of the schools scheduled for closing next month.
“I’ve been working with inner-city kids for many years,” Schuster told The Catholic Review. “There are so many initiatives out there for them, but the very best is the Catholic school system.”
Schuster attended Sacred Heart School in Glyndon for six years and is a parishioner of St. John in Westminster.
Transportation was a major concern of families affected by the closings. Parents of children from consolidated schools will now pay $10 per month to have their children take a bus provided by the archdiocese to their new school, Caine said.
Caine said that the archbishop is “pleased with the outcome and is hoping more people who care about the future of Catholic schools will actively support them.”
Schuster met with the archbishop and Monsignor Robert L. Hartnett, executive director for schools planning, in late April at the archdiocese’s Baltimore City headquarters.
“I learned a tremendous amount,” Schuster said. “This has been difficult for so many people.”
Caine said the archbishop “is grateful for Mr. Schuster’s support and looks forward to a partnership that promotes our goal of making Catholic schools more accessible.”
Caine said the archbishop met the businessman because of “his letters of concern about the future of Catholic education in Baltimore City and his desire to help support Catholic schools.”
Schuster said he would produce one more advertisement, asking people to support the archdiocese and make urban education a priority.
“I hit very hard through the whole advertising campaign,” Schuster said. “It was difficult for me.”
Caine said “both the archbishop and Mr. Schuster are united in their passion for Catholic schools and their desire to see them more accessible to more children in the Archdiocese.”