FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 22, 2013
LOCAL BOARDS AND RECONFIGURATION COMMITTEES ISSUE FINAL DECISIONS
FOR AT-RISK CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
(New York, January 22, 2013) Local Boards and ad hoc Reconfiguration Committees, after in-depth discussions with local pastors, principals, administrators and elected officials, and in consultation with the Archdiocese of New York, collectively have recommended closing 22 elementary schools in June 2013.
Of the 26 at-risk elementary schools announced two months ago, four will remain open, and decisions about two additional schools on Staten Island have been deferred for several weeks to evaluate the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the region. The local boards’ and committees’ recommendations were accepted by the Archdiocese of New York.
The decision to close the at-risk schools follows a painstaking, months-long review involving local decision-makers in accordance with Pathways to Excellence, the strategic plan for Catholic schools that was published in October 2010 and developed to assure a vibrant future for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New York. This review included all relevant data, including enrollment, financial, academic and local demographics, to ensure the Board’s and Committee’s decisions would result in financially healthy, sustainable schools. Throughout the review process, pastors and principals of the at-risk schools were invited to meet with members of the local Board or Reconfiguration Committee to discuss the combination of factors that led to the decision to list a school as “at-risk,” and offered an opportunity to submit an alternative proposal to remain viable.
Affected families will be welcomed in neighboring Catholic schools, and every effort will be made to assist those who are facing financial challenges making the transition. Student Placement Counselors will work with Regional Superintendents to help school families transition into another Catholic school for the 2013-2014 school year. Informational meetings for affected families will be announced in the coming weeks.
The following schools will close in June 2013, at the end of the current academic year:
Holy Name of Jesus, Valhalla
Our Lady of Fatima, Scarsdale
Holy Name of Jesus
St. Casimir, Yonkers
St. James-St. Joseph
Our Lady of the Assumption, Peekskill
Northwest and South Bronx:
St. Theresa, Briarcliff Manor
Our Lady of Angels
Our Lady of Mercy
St. Joseph, Millbrook
East and Northeast Bronx:
St. Augustine, New City
St. Peter, Haverstraw
St. Mary Star of the Sea
Ulster, Orange, Sullivan:
St. Joseph, Kingston
St. Mary of the Snow, Saugerties
The number of students at the elementary schools announced for closure today is 4,341, which represents almost 9 percent of those enrolled in Catholic elementary schools in the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, and Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Sullivan, Orange, Dutchess and Ulster counties.
The committees have acknowledged that four schools originally designated as “at-risk” submitted proposals that included viable long-term plans and will remain open. They are: St. Gregory the Great in Manhattan, St. Mary School in East and Northeast Bronx, Sacred Heart in Newburgh, Orange County and Regina Coeli in Hyde Park, Dutchess County.
In addition to the 22 elementary schools, two secondary schools will close. After a review of current and projected deficits and continuing declines in enrollment, and in consultation with the archdiocese, school leadership has determined that St. Agnes Boys High School in Manhattan and Blessed Sacrament/St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle are not sustainable, and will close. The number of affected secondary school students is 424, out of 24,830 currently enrolled across the archdiocese.
Timothy McNiff, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York stated, “As we move forward, we urge Governor Cuomo and the legislature to enact the Education Investment Incentives Act. This initiative, similar to those already enacted into law in 11 other states, would spur additional corporate and individual donations into education, generating $150 million in additional scholarships for families to enroll their children in Catholic and other religious and independent schools. Moreover, the legislation would generate an equal level of additional contributions to public schools.”
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York added, “The Archdiocese is not alone in facing financial challenges in education—we share these issues with public, private and other faith-based schools across the country. This reconfiguration process will help ensure that our schools will be financially stable, sustainable and, more importantly, open to all students. We are dedicated to providing pastoral support and educational guidance to every family personally affected by reconfiguration to ensure all children attending closing schools will be warmly welcomed into a neighboring Catholic school where they will continue to learn and thrive.”