Boston, Mass., Feb 17, 2023 / 13:15 pm (CNA).
The Archdiocese of New York announced Wednesday that 12 of its schools will close at the end of the 2022-2023 school year, citing “detrimental” financial instability “due to shifting demographics and lower enrollment made worse by the pandemic.”
“It is never a good day when we announce closures to any of our beloved schools, but the goal is always to strengthen the remaining institutions and preserve Catholic education in New York for decades to come,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, said in a Feb. 15 press release.
In addition to the school’s closures, four additional schools will merge into two. The archdiocese also announced that three schools will eliminate their sixth through eighth grades.
“We are doing everything we can to minimize the impact this will have on families and will provide both educational guidance and pastoral support to all those affected to ensure all children will be warmly welcomed into a nearby Catholic school. We are all in this together, and with hard work and God’s blessings, we will come out on the other side,” Cardinal Dolan said.
The statement said that the archdiocese will welcome any families affected by the closures into nearby Catholic schools. Financial support such as scholarships and financial aid will be available for those affected families as well.
The schools that will not reopen are Academy of St. Paul and St. Ann in Manhattan; Ascension School in Manhattan; Guardian Angel School in Manhattan; Holy Family School in the Bronx; Immaculate Conception School in Manhattan; Immaculate Conception School in the Bronx; Our Lady, Queen of Martyrs in Manhattan; Santa Maria School in the Bronx; St. Angela Merici School in the Bronx; St. Brendan School in the Bronx; St. Christopher School in Staten Island; and St. Margaret Mary School in the Bronx.
The statement noted that there are two schools named Immaculate Conception in the Bronx and that the one on 151st Street is not closing.
The archdiocese said St. Francis Xavier and St. Clare of Assisi in the Bronx will merge, as will St. Gabriel School and St. Margaret of Cortona in the Bronx.
Most Precious Blood School in Walden, St. James the Apostle in Carmel, and St. Columbanus in Cortlandt Manor — all north/northwest of New York City — will eliminate their sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, according to the archdiocese.
The archdiocese said it will work with families to answer any questions they may have about concerns of enrollment, transportation, or tuition. Updates will appear on this page.
“We understand these are challenging times for many families, and this is indeed a sad day for everyone in our Catholic schools community,” Michael Deegan, the archdiocese’s superintendent of schools, said in the statement.
“I personally mourn the loss of every one of our great schools. However, as we process this news, we must resolve that the great tradition of Catholic education in New York will continue, and we will assist all students who are seeking to carry on their Catholic education to find a seat at another excellent school in the archdiocese.”
As America continues to struggle with the negative effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, the education system has become a focal point of conversation because of the many children who are behind in their academic development.
Student learning in both the American Catholic and public school systems suffered negative effects from the pandemic. However, the pandemic’s negative effect on learning was more pronounced among fourth- and eighth-graders at public schools than among their Catholic-school counterparts, according to a 2022 report from the U.S. Department of Education.
New data from the National Catholic Educational Association has shown that enrollment in Catholic schools across the nation grew by 0.3% last year to a total of 1,693,493 students in 5,920 schools. Still, Catholic school enrollment remains below pre-pandemic levels.
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