FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 4, 2013
STATEN ISLAND REGIONAL BOARD MAKES PRELIMINARY DETERMINATION OF “AT-RISK” CATHOLIC ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS
(New York, January 4, 2013) The Staten Island Regional Board of Trustees, after in-depth discussions with the Office of the Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York, local pastors, principals, administrators and elected officials, has determined that two Staten Island elementary schools are “at-risk” of closing in June 2013.
This announcement follows the November 2012 determinations made after months of deliberation by the other Regional Boards and ad hoc Reconfiguration Committees across the archdiocese. That announcement named 26 out of 159 regionalized, parish and archdiocesan elementary schools across as at-risk of closure in June 2013. However, the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Sandy led the Staten Island Board to delay their decisions and to continue deliberations into the New Year, to assess how to best serve the needs of Catholic school families on Staten Island, both now and in the future.
The two Staten Island elementary schools notified today that they are at risk are:
• St. Joseph School, 139 St. Mary Avenue, 10305.
• Immaculate Conception School, 104 Gordon Street, 10304
St. Joseph School has a current enrollment of 167 students, and Immaculate Conception has a current enrollment of 216 students, out of a total enrollment of 8,378 Catholic elementary students on Staten Island.
The decision-making process used by local boards and committees was outlined in Pathways to Excellence, the strategic plan for Catholic schools published in October 2010 and developed to assure a vibrant future for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New York. Under that plan, most parish elementary schools will align into geographic regions governed by Boards.
“Pathways to Excellence aims to both stabilize and eventually grow the number of Catholic schools across the Archdiocese of New York, as well as ensure that all our schools remain financially stable and, more importantly, eliminate the need for future closures,” said Dr. Timothy McNiff, Superintendent of Schools. “Since its inception, our plan has focused on raising standards of academic excellence while working to secure additional funding through a variety of sources, to help ensure a robust future for Catholic education.”
“I want to express my deep appreciation to the laity and clergy serving on the local Regional Boards and ad hoc Reconfiguration Committees,” Dr. McNiff adds. “These are difficult, but necessary, decisions and, working together, we will ensure that our Catholic elementary schools are stronger than ever.”
Local Regional Boards and Reconfiguration Committees in every county in the archdiocese began their careful analysis of each school region in fall of 2012. This review included all relevant data, including enrollment, financial, academic and local demographics, to ensure their decisions would result in financially healthy, sustainable schools.
In the next step of this process, pastors and principals of the two at-risk elementary schools on Staten Island will be invited to meet with members of the local Board to discuss the combination of factors that led the school to be selected and to review next steps. These pastors and principals will be given the opportunity to share insights that may be relevant in the review process, and present an alternative proposal by February 1. If requested, in-person presentations will be scheduled on February 4. After a final review, the decisions by the local Board, in consultation with the Archdiocese of New York, will be announced on February 11, 2013.