ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK ANNOUNCES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLOSURES AND MERGERS
March 7, 2008; New York, NY. — In an effort to strengthen its large elementary school system with a strategic redeployment of resources including enriched educational opportunities for students, the Archdiocese of New York announced today that six elementary schools will close at the end of this school year in June 2008 and four elementary schools will merge into two new schools to open in September 2008. As major reasons for this action the Archdiocese cited continuing challenges to the schools’ future including escalating operating costs and declining enrollment all set within the larger context of increased economic pressures on Catholic school families throughout the region, and the lack of both tax relief for those parents and government support for religious and independent schools.
The six elementary schools slated for closure are St. Pius V in the Bronx, Holy Rosary in Hawthorne, Immaculate Conception in Irvington, St. Lawrence O’Toole in Brewster, Immaculate Conception School in Stony Point and St. Catherine of Alexandria in Blauvelt.
In the Bronx, St. Frances of Rome School and St. Anthony School on Matilda Avenue will merge. The new school will be located in the building now used by St. Anthony School. Two Port Chester schools, Holy Rosary School and Corpus Christi will merge; the new school to be located in the facility now used by Corpus Christi.
The closing of six schools affects about 1\% of all the Catholic elementary school students in the Archdiocese and all these students will be assured of a seat in another Catholic elementary school nearby.
Many students in both closing and merging schools participate in the Cardinal’s Scholarship Program. Students will retain these scholarships as they move on to a different or newly merged Catholic school in the Archdiocese when they successfully complete their regular annual re-qualification process.
Specific criteria used for identifying elementary schools for closure included a pattern of, and projections for, declining enrollment and rising operating deficits. Many religious and independent schools throughout the area are feeling the economic crunch. These schools educate 15\% of the total school age population in New York State and 20\% of that population in New York City. While there has been significant political rhetoric about helping religious and independent schools because they are an important part of American education, there has been little action. State officials are spending $22 billion on public education while offering no relief for parents with children in religious and independent schools.
Before final decisions were made on school closures and mergers, a history and profile of each school was reviewed and alternatives to closure were carefully considered. The proximity of other Catholic elementary schools was also considered to insure that a Catholic educational community would be available to all students of closed schools.
For additional information about individual school closures and mergers, please see below:
St. Pius V School
413 East 144 Street
Bronx, NY 10454
Since 2004 enrollment at St. Pius V School has declined by 75 students to a total of 229. Students transferring from St. Pius to nearby St. Jerome School [222 Alexander Avenue] will enjoy a new media center and computer lab, a science lab and a broad range of extracurricular activities. An involved and supportive Advisory Board and its alumni association also strengthen St. Jerome. Other nearby Catholic schools include Immaculate Conception [East 151 Street]; Sts. Peter and Paul [838 Brook Avenue]. All are within a mile or less of St. Pius V.
Holy Rosary School
180 Bradhurst Avenue
Hawthorne, NY 10532
Originally slated for closure in 2005, Holy Rosary’s appeal and corrective action plan were accepted by the Archdiocese, which gave the school three years to accomplish its goals. The school’s enrollment is now at only 117 students. A nearby school, St. Theresa’s in Briarcliff Manor is widely recognized both for academic excellence and a highly competitive athletic program. Monsignor James Vaughey, the pastor of St. Theresa’s, said that school “is poised to welcome as many students from Holy Rosary as there is room to accept and to ease their transition as much as possible.”
Other conveniently located schools include Our Lady of Mount Carmel School [59 East Main Street, Elmsford NY 10523]; Holy Name of Jesus School [2 Broadway, Valhalla, NY 10595]; Sacred Heart School [59 Wilson Street, Hartsdale, NY 10927] Our Lady of Sorrows School [888 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, NY 10605].
16 North Broadway
Nearby Catholic Schools: Transfiguration School [40 Prospect Avenue, Tarrytown, NY 10591]; St Anthony’s School [1395 Nepperhan Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10703]; Our Lady of Fatima School [963 Scarsdale Road, Scarsdale, NY 10583]
St. Lawrence O'Toole School
11 Eastview Avenue
Brewster, NY 10509
Only 131 students were enrolled in St. Lawrence this year and pre-registration for the year starting in September 2008 is approximately 30 students.
Nearby Catholic Schools: St. John the Evangelist [239 East Lake Boulevard, Mahopac, NY 10541]; St. James the Apostle [12 Gleneida Avenue, Carmel, NY 10512]
Immaculate Conception School
24 East Main Street
Stony Point, NY 10980
The school enrollment has dropped by nearly 70 students since 2004 and now totals 121 students. The increased enrollment at nearby St. Gregory Barbarigo School [29 Cinder Road, Garnerville, NY 10923] offers a vibrant learning community to transferring students. Another neighboring school is St. Peter’s School in Haverstraw [21 Ridge Street, 10927], which was recently featured in the Cardinal’s Appeal video for its success at serving a multi-cultural community.
St. Catherine of Alexandria
517 Western Highway
Blauvelt, NY 10913
While the school will close at the end of this school year, tentative plans include the development of a full-service Early Childhood Center at the site. The school already has 80 children in its preschool program. This pre-K population comprises approximately half of the school’s current enrollment of 178.
Nearby Catholic Schools: St. Margaret’s School [33 North Magnolia Street, Pearl River, NY 10965]; St. Paul’s School [365 Kings Highway, Valley Cottage, NY 10989]
History, institutional culture, shared activities, as well as proximity were some of the factors considered by the Archdiocese when identifying schools to be merged into new, larger schools.
The new school will be located at St. Anthony’s newer facility, which has both a spacious gym and cafeteria. Neither was available at St. Frances School. This merger has been considered in the past because of such linkages as the sharing of a school chaplain, staff familiarity and school proximity. The Archdiocese is currently building a model Early Childhood Learning Center at this site.
Both schools are in Port Chester. Both parishes are served by the Salesians of Don Bosco, an Order historically dedicated to serving young people. Both schools already share a number of activities including a summer camp program and seasonal celebrations. The new school will be located at Corpus Christi School.