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Eight Bronx Catholic Schools at risk for closure

Bronx Times

Eight Bronx Catholic schools have been named “at risk” for possible closure at the end of the next school year.

Archdiocese of New York school officials said the borough parochial schools notified that they are “at-risk” of closing are Holy Spirit elementary school in Morris Heights, Our Lady of Angels school in Kingsbridge, Our Lady of Mercy school in Fordham, St. Jerome school in Mott Haven, St. Anthony’s School in Wakefield, St. Mary’s Elementary School in Williamsbridge, and St. Mary Star of the Sea school on City Island.

As part of the 2010 Pathways to Excellence plan for Catholic schools, local boards and committees have completed their preliminary evaluations of the current state and long-term sustainability of elementary schools in their areas, including enrollment, financial, academic and local demographics .

The review was started to improve the fiscal health of the Archdiocese of New York and will help ensure that all of its schools will remain financially stable and open to all students, officials said.

Based on the reviews, it was determined that 26 out of 159 regionalized, parish and archdiocesan elementary schools are at-risk of closure in June 2013.

That would directly affect 5,053 out of 50,045 currently enrolled students in Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, as well as Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Sullivan, Orange, Dutchess and Ulster counties.

The number of affected secondary school students is 217, out of 24,830 currently enrolled across the archdiocese.

The next step in the process, officials said, will be to have pastors and principals of the at-risk elementary schools to meet with the local board or committee to discuss the factors that led the school to be selected and review next steps.

The pastors and principals will be able to share insights relevant in the review process.

Final decisions will be made in January 2013.

“I want to express my deep appreciation to the laity and clergy serving on the local regional boards and ad hoc reconfiguration committees,” said Superintendent of Schools Timothy McNiff. “These are difficult, but necessary, decisions and, working together, we will ensure that our Catholic elementary schools are stronger than ever.”

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at ksanchez@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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