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Catholic School Closings Affect Minority Students

By Stephon JohnsonAmsterdam News

 

NEW YORK - With news of underperforming public schools and proposals to close said schools becoming a mainstay the past few years, Catholic schools in New York have become a godsend for parents looking to provide children with a good education. But some of those schools are now on the chopping block as well.

Last month, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York released a report that detailed and listed 32 Catholic schools across the five boroughs that could close by the end of the school year. In what the archdiocese called "preliminary determinations of 'at-risk' schools," the church's reconfiguration committee was put in charge of evaluating the long-term viability of parish and archdiocesan schools in the Archdiocese of New York.

"The Reconfiguration Committee, composed of pastors, principals, parents and representatives of the Archdiocese, considered many factors, including enrollment trends, financial subsidies, infrastructure, test scores, future demographics and the ability of students to attend a nearby school," read the Archdiocese's statement. "Based on this analysis, the committee has designated 31 out of 185 parish and archdiocesan elementary schools and one secondary school as 'at-risk.' If, at the end of the process, this designation remains unchanged, a school would have its archdiocesan subsidy eliminated or reduced significantly."

Some of the schools on that list include Saint Joseph of the Holy Family in Harlem, Saint Augustine in the Morrisania section of the Bronx and St. Pius V High School, an all-girls high school in the South Bronx. If carried through, it would be the largest school system reorganization in its history. Many of the schools, particularly in the Bronx, serve ethnic minority communities.

There are 53,281 children enrolled in Catholic elementary schools in the five boroughs and in Westchester, Putnam, Sullivan, Orange, Dutchess and Ulster counties. The closings would affect 4,451 students. According to the Archdiocese of New York, 110 out of 26,501 secondary schools students would be affected by school closings. Despite the 34 percent decline in student enrollment the past five years, which has led to schools laying on the chopping block, the Catholic Federation of Teachers feels for the communities and hopes that the schools can be saved.

"This is a very disappointing and devastating day for these school communities," read a statement on the federation's home page. "Our hope is that there are schools that will be able to demonstrate that they have viable plans for the sustainability of their schools and that this list will be shorter when the final decision is made.

"This union will be there for the teachers in each of these schools as the schools go through this process," read the federation's statement. The schools where enrollments have decreased leading to a loss of money have had to rely on subsidies from the Archdiocese to survive up to this point. 

According to a spokesperson at the Archdiocese's education department, the selected schools were able to submit a proposal, which was due on Tuesday that would help their long-term sustainability. After a review by the archbishop and a confirmation of committee recommendation, the superintendent of schools will notify the pastor. The pastor will make a ruling this coming January.

"There has got to be some resolution on the local level," said the spokesperson. "And they've been given the opportunity to submit a proposal [which was due on Tuesday]." "And we expect to have quite a few even though they're not required."

When asked if the AmNews can seek comment from leadership at particular schools, the spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York said that all responses to this issue would be directly from their education department. But with public schools potentially closing and charter schools on the rise, a good education can be tough to come by for New York City parents if they don't wan to be subjected to a raffle. 


STORY TAGS: BLACKS, AFRICAN AMERICAN, MINORITIES, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY, AFRO AMERICANS, HISPANIC, LATINO, MEXICAN, MINORITIES, CIVIL RIGHTS, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM, DIVERSITY, LATINA, RACIAL EQUALITY, BIAS, EQUALITY



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