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Archdiocese of New York to Close 22 Elementary Schools

A total of 24 Catholic elementary and high schools will close, affecting over 4,700 students

A dwindling enrollment and decreased funding are forcing the Archdiocese of New York to close 22 of its Catholic elementary schools and two Catholic high schools, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The closures will affect about 9 percent of the elementary schools’ enrollment and more than 4,700 students total, officials said.

"It's painful to go through this exercise," said Timothy McNiff, superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of New York. "These parents love these schools, and it's hard to have to tell them that 100 years of tradition at that community is now not going to [continue]."

McNiff said the closures are necessary for the long-term viability of the school system, which has watched enrollment decline by more than 25,000 students since 2003.

But McNiff says the closings are a part of a multi-year plan that will group schools into a series of districts, taxing parishes, and sell or lease the remaining properties.

The Archdiocese also is pursuing other revenue strategies, such as a voucher program out of Albany that would allow businesses to get tax credits for providing scholarships, as well as an addition $30 million in funding it says Albany owes it in reimbursements for certain state requirements, such as administering state tests and reporting student data, reported the paper.

McNiff said if their game plan works and is successful, they hope to completely stem any future school closures.

"We have a game plan where we can hold the line and sustain these schools going forward," he said. "Can we give absolute guarantees? No."

Bill lombard January 25, 2013 at 04:55 AM
Attention all middle class and long time residents. you have no place in the Brooklyn of 2013. We pay 35,000 a year for our kids to go to private school. Please move away to jersey or Staten Island so we can make our neighborhood even more like Manhattan. Another shot in the future class struggle in this country. 35,000 a year for grade school is outrageous, and speaks volumes of many of the intentions of our "affluent" neighbors. everyone is equal but, there are some more equal than others.

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