St. Mary's pastor says a compromise is near in school controversy Archdiocese officials confer with priest on his restructuring plan


The Rev. Thomas Siconolfi, pastor of St. Mary's Church in Annapolis, says he expects to end the battle for control of the parish's two schools with a compromise he'll announce next week. But he did not hint yesterday at what the compromise would be.

Siconolfi, who triggered the controversy May 6 by announcing a restructuring of the schools' management, met yesterday with officials of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore.

'An acceptable plan'

"All participants felt that the meeting was very productive and believe that an acceptable plan for the future structure of St. Mary's schools is in sight," the archdiocese announced in a written statement late yesterday.

None of those who attended the meeting would comment further.

Members of the high school faculty, the high school board and a group of parents opposed to the changes have deluged the archdiocese with letters, faxes, telephone calls and e-mail, including three "position papers" faxed yesterday to Ronald J. Valenti, superintendent of the archdiocese's schools.

"All of the messages have been read and have been added into our understanding of the situation and have been incorporated in the discussion we had with Father Siconolfi," archdiocese spokesman Ray Kempisty said yesterday.

Under Siconolfi's plan, the boards that ran the elementary and high schools at the third-largest parish in the archdiocese would be abolished and replaced by a board of trustees that would hire a director to oversee operations at both schools.

Still some uncertainties

His plan left uncertain the roles of Jim Moorhead, the popular high school president and lacrosse coach, and high school Principal Francita Hobbs, whose religious order, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, has threatened to to sever its 131-year relationship with the parish because of the proposed changes.

Yesterday morning, the new board of trustees met separately with members of the high school and elementary school boards and the nuns.

Those who attended the meetings declined to comment, saying they would prefer to wait to hear the results of Siconolfi's meeting with Valenti and Bishop William C. Newman, vicar for the eastern region of the archdiocese.

Pub Date: 5/28/98

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