By Emily Drooby
Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Academy, Mill Basin; Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Academy, Dyker Heights; and St. Camillus Catholic Academy, Rockaway Park, Queens – will close their doors for good in June.
Two Bushwick academies: St. Frances Cabrini and St. Bridgid, will merge into one school, housed at St. Bridgid. School officials cited serious budget deficits because of declining enrollment as the reason for the changes.
They explained the schools did everything in their power for years to keep these academies open but, unfortunately, they still hit a critical point and realistically could no longer cover their overhead.
For example, Mary Queen of Heaven saw a 60 percent decline in enrollment from five years ago. The school is $250,000 in the red for the current school year.
At Our Lady of Guadalupe, enrollment is down 35 percent and they have a $200,000 deficit for this school year.
St. Camillus has seen enrollment drop by 25 percent with a deficit of $20,000 for this year and over $100,000 deficit for the past two years.
The merger of St. Frances Cabrini and St. Bridgid credited to declining enrollment and unexpected building repairs totaling over $200,000.
In a statement, Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, the superintendent of Catholic schools in the diocese, explained, “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.”
Officials added that redirecting funds into schools that are more stable will ultimately lead to a better education for students. Affected students will be accommodated at nearby Catholic academies and will get a $500 tuition assistance grant if they go to an academy or parish school within the Diocese of Brooklyn, and if they’ve met their financial obligations.
The goal is to place students in neighboring Catholic schools.