Arenella, the nuns’ school closes: “Bills too expensive”

The crisis claims a new victim. This time it is the Mater Divinae Gratiae private institute in via San Giacomo dei Capri, a school much loved and appreciated by families not only in Arenella but also in Vomero, Colli Aminei and Rione Alto, which closes for expensive bills. Sister Bianca sent a letter to the 106 families of as many children enrolled in kindergarten and primary school on Monday in which she communicated the closure of the Institute following a decision by the administrative headquarters in Rome, inviting parents to enroll their children in other institutions.

A painful warning not only for the families but also for the 85-year-old nun who has directed the complex all her life and has trained at least three generations. An inconvenience that will also be reflected in the teaching staff and the ATAs, about 25 people who will have to find a new job for the next school year. However, there could be a solution: Valentina Ercolino, president of the Confapi Equal Schools group of Campania, already manages an equal school and is interested in taking over the equal institute Mater Divinae Gratiae, after a review of the documentation.

The decision to close the historic Arenella private institute is due to high bills, the coup de grace after experiencing a strong crisis of members during Covid. «Sister Bianca told me about two electricity bills of over 5,000 euros each, and the costs have become unsustainable. So from Rome they told her that the school would close permanently in July» explains Ercolino. «It must be said that keeping the tuition fee at such low figures, around 150 euros a month, and not adjusting it to the service provided, the cost of living, increases and the number of personnel, in the long run it was obvious would not have brought expenses. Some time ago I spoke about it with Sister Bianca, reluctant to be part of Confapi with which we would have helped her to adapt the administrative management of the institute and prevent this surrender, which is painful for the whole school system on equal terms and not».

“I dare not think of the tragedy of the employees and their families” continues the manager Ercolino. «I would like to understand if there is room to remedy the situation and take over, if there are shortages and if they can possibly be remedied so as to save the approximately 25 jobs. I asked Sister Bianca to view the financial statements: if I have them in time, I could have them analyzed by my lawyers and ascertain if there are ways and measures to save this historic school reality. Otherwise it will end up just like what happened in July with the Nazareth Institute in via Kagoshima, where not even the entrepreneur who announced his interest has taken over, who instead invested in Caserta ». The institute opened its doors to scholastic activity in 1956, for some years the school functioned with religious teachers and was later given access to lay teachers.

Although not having competences on the peer institute, the city councilor for education met with the directors of the comprehensive schools in the area: EA Mario, Minucci and Pavese, solicited by municipal councilors. “There is maximum willingness to meet the needs of relational and logistical continuity expressed by the families taking into account the different capacities of the school buildings and the number of students” explained the commissioner Striano. However, in addition to the availability offered to welcome the approximately 100 pupils, it is difficult to be sure that new ad hoc classes will be created to accommodate all the former Divinae Gratie classes, while a redistribution in the existing undersized classes is more likely. Meanwhile, many families have begun to meet with the head teachers of the neighboring state schools and of the Betlemite Sisters Institute during the OpenDays to understand if there is the possibility of moving the children immediately with a permit.

Arenella, the nuns’ school closes: “Bills too expensive”