NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Families rallied in support of a Catholic school in the Bronx Monday, the day before Archdiocese of New York was set to vote on whether to close it.

As 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported, parents and students believe St. Jerome School, at 222 Alexander Ave. in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx, is more than a school. The parents said it is a second home for their kids, and a lifeblood of the community.

“I already have a graduating child, and I still have two more,” one mother said. “So for this school to close, it would mean, right now, that I would have to search for another school.”

The school is one of about 26 Catholic schools that the Archdiocese of New York said are at risk of closing in 2013. The reasoning is not academic, but economic. But Kelvin Ramirez doesn’t buy the argument.

“They definitely have money to renovate St. Patrick’s Cathedral, so the money is there. They have money for what they want to implement,” Ramirez said. “They just don’t want to put it into inner-city communities.”

Each of the schools facing closure has been awarded get a chance to plead its case for staying open, and present a financial survival plan.

Parents have also accused Archdiocese of threatening to close the financially struggling school so it can make money off the real estate.

But the Archdiocese denied that claim. In a statement, Archdiocese schools Supt. Dr. Timothy J. McNiff said the plan to close the schools is designed to “improve the fiscal health of the archdiocese” and “ensure that all [its] schools remain financially stable and more importantly, open to all students.”

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