Two Catholic schools in Brooklyn will permanently close due to declining enrollment and financial struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Diocese of Brooklyn announced on July 9.
Both Queen of the Rosary in Williamsburg and St. Gregory the Great in Flatbush will not resume classes, according to the Diocese’s Superintendent of Schools, who said the institutions had been declining in enrollment for several years — and simply couldn’t meet their financial obligations given the current economic climate.
“This is an incredibly sad day for our Catholic community to have to close these schools, but the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic is insurmountable. The difficult decisions come after the intense analysis of the financial picture of each academy,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D.
The schools, which had served students from nursery school to 8th grade, had been charging upwards of $4,375 per individual student — which became an untenable situation as unemployment rates skyrocket, said Chadzutko.
The Diocese assured parents that “every effort will be made to help transition affected students and families to nearby Catholic academies,” and they would be providing a one-time $500 financial grant for each child from either school who transfers to a new school within the Catholic school system.
Citywide, 17 Catholic schools will permanently close — including two in Manhattan, six in the Bronx, three in Staten Island, and four in Queens.
The Superintendent of Schools at the Diocese of New York warned that more closures could result if additional financial help doesn’t come from the nation’s capital.
“If more assistance is not forthcoming in the longed for HEROES Act now before Congress, I am afraid even more might close,” said Michael J. Deegan. “This is a very sad day for everyone in the extended Catholic school community.”
In Brooklyn, parents and faculty at Queen of the Rosary launched a petition on Change.org on July 9 urging the Diocese to reconsider the decision to close the school, which had garnered nearly 200 signatures within three hours of launching.
“We are hurt by the exemption of the decision making process,” the petition reads. “Had we been given fair and just forewarning, we believe we could have helped raise capital, secure secondary plans, etc. Having the rug pulled from us and our children during a pandemic is wrong.”
The Brooklyn Diocese says they will begin hosting informational meetings online in the coming weeks to help inform parents about future plans, and help them facilitate student transfers.
This story first appeared on AMNY.com.