Five Catholic elementary schools were among the 12 across the New York Archdiocese that will be shutting down at the end of the current school year and not reopening next fall.
The Manhattan-based schools that are closing include: Immaculate Conception on East 14th Street, Ascension School on 108th St. on the Upper West Side, Guardian Angel School in Chelsea, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs in Inwood and the Academy of St. Paul & St. Ann–itself a merged school in Harlem.
Catholic schools had seen their enrollment drop from 64,000 several years prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to its current level of 53,000--a drop of 17 percent. Schools within the city were particularly hard hit in the early days of COVID in 2020 as many people relocated away from crowded urban areas to suburban and rural areas. One source said that the Archdiocese was underwriting struggling schools in its system to the tune of $28 million a year.
While the number of Catholic school students across the state ticked up by one percent in the past year, it did not offset nearly two decades of declining student enrollment. The inner city schools that the Archdiocese is closing were particularly hard hit.
In addition to the five Manhattan schools that will not reopen next fall, six schools are going to close in the Bronx at the end of the current school year: Holy Family School–which boasts Jennifer Lopez as a graduate–Santa Maria School, St. Angela Merci School, St. Brendan School, St. Margaret Mary School, and Immaculate Conception School (at 760 Gun Hill Rd, not to be confused with another Immaculate Conception School at 151st St in the Bronx that is now a tuition free charter school for grades 6-12 operated by Partnership Schools).
In addition, four schools in the Bronx will merge into two. St. Francis Xavier will merge with St Clare of Assisi and St. Gabriel School will merge with St. Margaret of Cortona.
And St. Christopher School on Staten Island is also closing.
“It is never a good day when we announce closures to any of our beloved schools, but the goal is always to strengthen the remaining institutions and preserve Catholic education in New York for decades to come,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York which includes Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and six counties north of the city including Westchester and Rockland.
“We are doing everything we can to minimize the impact this will have on families and will provide both educational guidance and pastoral support to all those affected to ensure all children will be warmly welcomed into a nearby Catholic school.”
Michael J. Deegan, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York said, “I personally mourn the loss of everyone of our great schools.” He said he would work to assist students from the schools that are closing “to find a seat at another excellent school in the Archdiocese.”