FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 9, 2010
RECONFIGURATION COMMITTEE OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK ANNOUNCES PRELIMINARY DETERMINATIONS OF “AT-RISK” SCHOOLS
(New York, November 9, 2010) The Reconfiguration Committee, charged with evaluating the long-term viability of parish and archdiocesan schools in the Archdiocese of New York, has made its preliminary recommendations as to which Catholic schools should no longer receive significant financial subsidies from the Archdiocese. The committee was created as part of the strategies outlined in Pathways to Excellence, the strategic plan for Catholic schools that was published in October and developed to assure a vibrant future for the school system.
“Declining enrollment and rising tuition are key challenges facing those schools that have been identified as “at-risk.” These under-enrolled schools require significant financial support from the archdiocese, which cannot be sustained indefinitely. We need to allocate our resources where they can do the most good, and support schools that can sustain themselves over time,” said Dr. Timothy J. McNiff, Superintendent of Schools. “Maintaining access to a quality Catholic school for every family in the archdiocese is a top priority in the reconfiguration process. The archdiocese is committed to providing pastoral support and guidance to every family personally affected by the process.”
The Reconfiguration Committee, composed of pastors, principals, parents and representatives of the archdiocese, considered many factors, including enrollment trends, financial subsidies, infrastructure, test scores, future demographics, and ability of students to attend a nearby school. Based on this analysis, the committee has designated 31 out of 185 parish and archdiocesan elementary schools and one secondary school as “at-risk.” If, at the end of the process, this designation remains unchanged, a school would have its archdiocesan subsidy eliminated or reduced significantly.
The number of students at these elementary schools is 4,451 out of 53,281 currently 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. These schools have seen a decline in enrollment of 34\% percent over the past five years. The number of affected secondary school students is 110, out of 26,501 currently enrolled across the archdiocese.
The plan is to stabilize and ultimately grow the archdiocesan school system and to continue to raise standards of excellence in all areas.
In the next step of this process, pastors and principals of the “at-risk” schools will be invited to meet with members of the committee to discuss the combination of factors that led the school to be included on the list. These pastors and principals will be given the opportunity to share local insights that might be relevant in the evaluation process, and be invited to present a proposal for the school’s long-term sustainability. This consultation will be critical to the committee’s final recommendation, so that no stone is left unturned in the collaborative evaluation process.
After proposals are submitted to the committee, it will make final recommendations to the Archbishop of New York as to the school’s future viability, in light of a reduction or elimination of archdiocesan subsidies. Once the Archbishop reviews and confirms the recommendation of the committee, the Superintendent of Schools will notify the pastor, who will make the final decision in January, 2011.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan stated “I thank the Reconfiguration Committee for their hard work and thoughtful deliberations throughout this long process. Catholic schools are here to stay, but, it is clear that we need to take a hard look at some of our schools and our resources. The work of this committee has made it possible for us to begin to make the difficult, but necessary, decisions that will enable our school system to thrive and grow.”
The schools identified as “at-risk” are:
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