What to Know
- Seven Catholic schools in New York will close after the school year ends, due in part to declining enrollment
- Five of the schools are in New York City, one is in Dutchess County, and one is in Sullivan County, the Archdiocese of New York said
- In a statement on Twitter, Cardinal Timothy Dolan called the decision to close the schools “painful and difficult"
Seven Catholic schools in New York will close after the school year ends, due in part to declining enrollment, the Archdiocese of New York said.
St. Rose of Lima Elementary School and St. Brigid School in Manhattan; Our Lady Help of Christians Elementary School on Staten Island; St. Nicholas of Tolentine Elementary School and St. Joseph Elementary School in the Bronx; St. Mary Elementary School-Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County; and St. Peter’s Regional School in Sullivan County are all slated for closure in June.
“Despite the Archdiocese’s best efforts to maintain the operational and financial viability of these schools, continuing to educate students in buildings that are underutilized and/or in need of significant improvements has proven unfeasible,” the Archdiocese said in a statement.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan called the decision to close the schools “painful and difficult.”
“You know, I’d rather be opening some new ones instead of closing some of the gems that we’ve got, but reality sets in,” he said in a video posted on Twitter.
“If we had 10 percent more kids in each of those schools, they wouldn’t be closing,” he added, noting that the schools’ current students would be “enthusiastically welcomed” at nearby Catholic schools.
Parents at St. Brigid's in the East Village said they're shocked by the sudden announcement.
"We have questions. We don't know what's happening in the school," said Christina Funes.
"Where were they four, five months ago to say, 'Can we do something? What can we do to keep this from going under?'" said grandparent Tony Pupello.
Signs drawn in crayon were plastered to the doors of St. Brigid's on East 7th Street and Avenue B, pleas from children desperate to save their school. It opened in 1856, and parents said the fight is also about preserving history.
"It's not OK. It's not OK," said parent Amanda Daloisio. "It's painful, and all the more painful in the way in which we were told."
The same community was tested a decade ago, when then Catholic Church next door nearly closed. A multi-million dollar donation saved it, and neighbors are praying it will happen again.
The Archdiocese plans to host informational meetings for parents interested in applying for financial aid and scholarships for the 2019-2020 school year.
“We understand these are challenging times for many families, and we will work with all students who are seeking to continue their Catholic education to find a seat at another excellent school in the Archdiocese,” Superintendent of Schools Timothy McNiff said in a statement.