FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 8, 2018
TWO CATHOLIC ACADEMIES WILL MERGE
The Board of Members and Board of Directors of Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Academy and Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Academy, both in Brooklyn, and St. Camillus Catholic Academy in Queens have voted to close the schools at the end of this school year. The difficult decision was made due to declining enrollment and the severe budget deficits that have resulted.
Two Catholic academies in Bushwick, Brooklyn will merge, effective for the 2019-2020 school year. They are St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Academy and St. Brigid Catholic Academy. The new school, to be located at St. Brigid’s, will be called St Brigid-St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Academy.
The students at all the affected schools 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.
“It’s an emotional time for the diocese when schools have to close because it is affecting the lives of students, parents, and faculty. The decisions come after intense analysis of enrollment trends and the financial picture of each academy,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools.
- At Mary Queen of Heaven in Mill Basin, enrollment is down almost 60 percent from five years ago. The budget for this school year shows a nearly $250,000 deficit and the Academy’s fund balance is more than $300,000 in the red.
- The financial situation is similar at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dyker Heights, where the current school year deficit is more than $200,000. Enrollment is down 35% in the last five years.
- At St. Camillus in Rockaway, the current school year budget is running a deficit of more than $20,000. And with deficits of more than $100,000 the two previous years, the academy has limited funds to meet expenses. Enrollment here is down almost 25% from five years ago.
- The building repairs at St. Frances Cabrini have continued to increase and last year, the Board of Directors spent over $200,000 in unexpected repairs. That along with declining enrollment at both schools is the reason for the merger.
“I respect the boards’ decisions on these matters,” said Chadzutko. “When resources are constrained, it affects all aspects of the learning environment, which eventually impacts students and their needs. Our children are our first priority.”
Information Night meetings will begin next week at the academies scheduled to close. Administrators and personnel from neighboring Catholic academies will be on hand to present their programs and answer any questions parents may have.
“It is the goal of the office to assist all parents in placing their children in their neighboring school if they so choose as well as working with faculty and staff who have dedicated their lives to Catholic education,” said Chadzutko. “It is our hope that the changing demographics of Brooklyn and Queens stabilizes so that enrollment in Catholic academies throughout the diocese can increase in the future,” he said.
The merged St Brigid-St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Academy will be designated an Embassy School. As a result, it will receive additional funding from the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust. The merged academy will also receive technology updates to the infrastructure through DeSales Media Group, the communications, and technology arm of the Diocese of Brooklyn.
For more information on the school closures, you can contact Adriana Rodriguez at (646) 241-9805 or at firstname.lastname@example.org