Despite its promises that ample warning would be given before additional school closings were planned, today the Archdiocese of New York contacted the Federation of Catholic Teachers to inform us that six schools are slated to close at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. This is in addition to the 55 schools that it has closed since 2011.
Hundreds of students and 76 full-time and part-time teachers will find themselves without a school. Catholic school teachers are well-educated, certified, professional and dedicated to their students and their schools, and are left to wonder what lies ahead. These men and women will remain in their classrooms educating their students through the end of the school year. They don’t only educate their students, but also offer support to students as they face uncertainty in their future school years and fears that come with the prospect of making new friends in new schools. At the same time, teachers are facing an uncertain future for themselves.
This uncertainty could have been avoided if the Archdiocese had followed its own promised plan of action. In 2010, the Archdiocese charted a course known as “Pathways to Excellence,” to ensure the quality and longevity of the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese. The closings or consolidations of schools, according to “Pathways,” would enhance the strength of all remaining schools in the system. Catholic school parents and teachers were promised that, ultimately, increased funds would be available for tuition assistance. Dr. Timothy McNiff, school superintendent of the Archdiocese, vowed to plow money back into the system.
In 2011, 30 schools were closed in the first round of closings, and in 2013, an additional 25 were closed. In these cases, the school communities were given a time frame to draft a financial plan and attempt to keep their school open. Yet no prior warning was given before today’s notification of the closing of six additional schools. The Archdiocese has not lived up to its word.
Following is a list of the schools the Archdiocese has said it will close by the end of the 2016-2017 school year:
Saint Gregory the Great
138 West 90th Street, NY, NY
Saints Peter and Paul
838 Brook Avenue, Bronx, NY
3511 Bainbridge Avenue, Bronx, NY
171 W. 239 Street, Bronx, NY
3956 Carpenter Avenue, Bronx, NY
Saint Peter’s Regional
121 Lincoln Place, Liberty, NY