FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 6, 2020
St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy in Queens to Close in June
The Board of Members and Board of Directors of St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy, located at 104-06 101st Ave, in Ozone Park, have voted to close the school at the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The difficult decision was made as a result of declining enrollment resulting in severe budget deficits.
“The Diocese of Brooklyn is committed to making sure that each child currently enrolled in St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy will be able to continue receiving a Catholic education. As you can imagine, this is an emotional time for this school community because closing a school greatly impacts the lives of students, parents, and faculty. The decision was reached after intense analysis of enrollment trends and the financial status and forecast of the Academy,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools.
- At St. Mary Gate of Heaven, enrollment has fallen nearly 51 percent since 2015. The budget for this school year shows an approximate $300,000 shortfall, with the total fund balance projected to be a deficit of $750,000 by the end of this school year.
- Collectively, the Catholic Foundation and Futures in Education, through the disbursement of financial assistance to families in need, have invested more than $500,000. The parish of St. Mary Gate of Heaven has also subsidized the operational expenses and building repairs of the Academy, in excess of $1.5 Million.
“I respect the boards’ decisions on these matters,” continued Dr. Chadzutko. “When resources are constrained, it affects all aspects of the learning environment, which eventually impacts students and their needs. Our children always remain our first priority, and it is our goal to place all students who wish to continue their Catholic education in one of our neighboring academies.”
The affected students will be accommodated at nearby Catholic academies. They will automatically receive a $500 tuition assistance grant if they attend an academy or parish school within the Diocese of Brooklyn, as long as they have met all of their financial obligations. That one-time grant is made possible by the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust.
A parent meeting was held at St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy last night. An information and registration fair, featuring seven area Catholic schools, is planned for next week.