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Catholic School to Go Public

St. Stephen Catholic School in Miramar will close at the end of the school year and the space will be taken over by a public charter school this fall, according to Sister Mary David Magee, the school's principal.  

On St. Stephen's Facebook page (Sorry, no link. You'll have to log onto your own account and search yourself), it says the school will be run by a company called Somerset Academy. "Religion will not be taught nor spoken about (just as a regular public school)," a Facebook posting says. "All crosses, statues, religious items, books, etc., will be removed from the school." Somerset Academy already runs several schools in Broward.

While the Facebook posting says that students and teachers are being invited to stay on at the school, Magee, who has 60 years' experience in education, said she would not remain its principal. "As a religious person, I don't think I could be a principal of a public school!"

The Archdiocese of Miami's website says it serves 36,745 children in 70 elementary and secondary schools in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties. "The schools exist to teach the Good News about Jesus Christ while providing a quality education." 

Magee directed questions to the communications office of the Archdiocese of Miami, but a spokeswoman there would not confirm the news about St. Stephen, saying that so far only one school has completed the process of being converted to a public charter -- Corpus Christi in Miami. That facility will be taken over by Mater Academy International. 

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Deirdra Funcheon

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