Several Roman Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens that are in danger of closing due to declining enrollment might instead be converted into publicly funded charter schools under an unusual church-state partnership, city officials said.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city and the Diocese of Brooklyn are exploring a pilot program that would keep the schools open with tax money, but also bring changes to management and curriculum. This would include an end to religious instruction.
The plan would mimic a program successfully conducted in Washington D.C. last year. A full announcement by the Diocese was released Thursday.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn said earlier this year that it will close at least 14 of its elementary schools -- a plan to deal with shrinking enrollment.
Eleven schools slated to closer are in Brooklyn: Flatbush Catholic Academy, St. Vincent Ferrer, Most Precious Blood, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and Our Lady of Angels.
In Queens, the schools are St. Anthony of Padua, St. Benedict Joseph Labre, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Aloysius and Blessed Sacrament.