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It’s a mix of cheers and jeers for the Diocese of Brooklyn.
Brooklyn parents are reeling from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio’s announcement that several of the borough’s Catholic schools will definitely close this June. Other parents are celebrating that their children’s schools will be allowed to remain open.
“We are ecstatic that we are still staying open,” said Rachel Connolly, a member of the Parents Association for Our Lady of Angels.
Our Lady of Angels, located at 337 74th Street, will reopen in September as an independent Catholic academy. It will be called Holy Angels Academy.
“From what I understand, as an academy, we do not depend on parish funding so we will have to do our own fundraisers,” Connolly said. “Right now, our excitement level is very high so we are hopeful parents will continue to use that energy next year.”
Community residents support the new venture and have already begun registering their children for the next school year.
“I believe that everybody is very happy that we are staying open. We had a very positive response with registration,” Connolly noted.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, 5902 Sixth Avenue, will remain open as a Catholic school.
“I know many students and parents will be relieved that Our Lady of Perpetual Help School and Our Lady of Angels School will stay open to teach and guide the youngest members of our community. On their behalf, I’d like to thank the diocese for its good decision,” said City Councilmember Vincent Gentile (D-Bay Ridge).
“Parochial schools are highly valued by many members of this community, and with local schools as overcrowded as they are, I’m pleased that OLPH and Holy Angels Academy seats will continue to be available to the families who want them,” Gentile continued.
The news wasn’t positive for three other schools in southern Brooklyn.
Most Precious Blood School at 133-157 27th Avenue, Flatbush Catholic Academy at 2520 Church Avenue, and St. Vincent Ferrer School at 1603 Brooklyn Avenue will all close in June.
The principals of the schools were unavailable for comment by presstime.
A spokesperson for the diocese explained that the schools are being closed because student enrollment continues to decline and, in turn, schools are asking the diocese for financial support to stay afloat.
“Our cost per pupil is $5,500 on average and our revenue per pupil is $3,500,” said Rev. Kieran Harrington.
The diocese will help students at schools slated for closure find seats in other Catholic schools.
“Change is never easy. Sometimes, it is even painful,” DiMarzio said. “I want to assure you that we will do everything we can to assure that your child finds a seat in the school of your choice.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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