Saint John the Baptist (Bedford Stuyvesant) and Saint Catherine of Sienna (Saint Albans) set to close in June; Local Communities apply to open as Charter Schools in September

On Tuesday, April 28, 2008 Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio announced that Parish School Buildings may become the sites for two new Charter Schools if the New York City Schools Chancellor and the New York State Board of Regents approve the Charter Applications.

“Parochial Schools serve the Catholic and the broader community by providing a comprehensive formation of the human person: spiritual, academic, physical, and moral” said Bishop DiMarzio. Over 35,000 children attend Catholic schools and in the past year the Diocese of Brooklyn has directly contributed $12 million in scholarships and grants.

Speaking as to why he supported the establishment of Charter schools Bishop DiMarzio said “As Bishop of Brooklyn, I am also deeply concerned for the families of the more than 60,000 Catholic children who attend New York City Public Schools. A strong education grounded in the humanities, mathematics and the sciences is foundational if we expect a generous and active citizenry. For this reason, I support the decision of these two great communities that are desirous of establishing Charter schools in places where Catholic schools have proved unsustainable.”

Charter Schools are Public Schools and therefore accountable to New York City Schools Chancellor. At the same time, Charter Schools have an independent management structure and enjoy greater flexibility in terms of curriculum. Neither religious instruction nor religious symbolism are permitted in Charter Schools.

“I am committed to ensuring that the families of our Diocese have access to the very best possible education” said DiMarzio. He continued “My hope is that these new Charter Schools will not only promote a high caliber education, but instill in our young a vision of the human person grounded in virtuous living.”

The new schools will be governed by Boards of Directors composed of community leaders and will not be under the direction of either the Diocese of Brooklyn or the local parishes. Both schools will have a new administration and faculty; administrators and faculty members of the former Catholic Schools will be invited to apply. Students will also be invited to take part in the “lottery” for seats in the new schools. Because of the large size of the buildings the Boards of Directors do not envision difficulties in accommodating all those that might be interested in attending either of the new schools.