YONKERS, N.Y. (CBS 2) — The thought of closing beloved neighborhood Catholic schools is heart-wrenching for students and parents.
But Archbishop Timothy Dolan said cuts have to be made.
Families, though, aren’t standing by quietly, reports CBS 2’s Magee Hickey.
Students and parents at Christ the King got emotional at the thought of their Catholic elementary school possibly closing by the end of this school year.
“My daughter asked me this morning with tears, ‘mommy, what did we do wrong? Why is our school closing?’ And as I had tears in my eyes I couldn’t answer her,” parent Kelly Haiduk said.
Christ the King is one of 32 schools on the “at-risk” list from the New York Archdiocese. There are 15 schools in New York City and 17 schools in Westchester and upstate counties. The Archdiocese said these schools have seen a 34-percent decline in enrollment in the past five years so they have had to give these schools $12 million in subsidies just this year alone to keep them operating.
“The important thing, Magee, is that all our kids can go to a Catholic school. If we don’t make some prudent, yes, tough … but some prudent choices to trim some we’re at risk of losing some more,” Archbishop Dolan said.
The archbishop added that consolidating schools will improve the quality of education by bringing students together under one roof.
Off-camera, many said the problem is fewer Catholics are sending their children to Catholic schools and the economy may be to blame. Many parents said with property taxes rising to support public schools, they have no choice but to forego the tuition of $4,000 or more in order to make ends meet.
At Christ the King, where there are only 184 students from pre-K through eighth grade, parents said tuition may have to rise.
“Our back’s against the wall. We’ll give it our best shot to keep this place alive,” Danny Anderson said.
Next Monday, there’ll be an emergency meeting of the Christ the King School community because the parents said they’re not going to go down without a fight.
Archbishop Dolan will make a final decision on which schools to close in January.
For a complete list of all the at-risk Catholic schools, click here.