To give some people a background about myself, I attended twelve years of Catholic school. I graduated from St. Francis de Sales, and then attended and graduated from St. Francis Prep in Fresh Meadows. The only time I attended public school was many moons ago when I went to kindergarten at the old P.S. 225 because Catholic elementary schools did not have kindergarten at the time. Some people say I was raised privileged but my parents made many sacrifices for the three of us to attend Catholic school.
I am so saddened again to her of another Catholic school closing, but I understand. This past week it was announced that Bishop Kearney, an all-girls high school in Brooklyn, would be closing at the end of the year. Now my daughters were not lucky enough to graduate St. Virgilius, which closed in the middle of their grammar school education, but both girls attended Bishop Kearney and it will be sad that they have technically no school to speak of as alumni. I enjoy following St. Francis Prep on social media and enjoy seeing the successes of students who I do not know but know that we walked the same hallways. I also enjoy seeing my old teacher, Mr. Patrick McLaughlin, successfully lead the school as principal.
The thing that is interesting is that people are so saddened on social media and state crazy reasons why the school is closing such as lawsuits and free tuition. Since both of my daughters went there and graduated in 2011 and 2016, I saw the decline in enrollment each year. My older daughter, Marianne, had an English teacher she LOVED. That teacher was excessed after Marianne’s tenth grade as they had lower numbers for the next year. Each year more teachers were excessed, which was the result of declining enrollment.
I know there was a committee (I was asked to join, but I just could not fit another committee in my schedule) to help the school and since I was not on it, I do not know what actually happened. When I mentioned low enrollment to my friends as the reason, they suggested that maybe they should lower the price so more people could attend. That is difficult to do when principals are paying rising health care costs, heating, upgrading technology constantly, etc. Just remember that New York City spends an average of $17,500 per pupil per year. Kearney’s website was stating that for next year the tuition would have been $10,200. Now my younger daughter graduated in 2016 and I believe that was the tuition, so the trustees did try to keep the tuition from increasing the last few years.
Some people think that low enrollment is because New York is not as Catholic as it once was. I disagree. There are many Catholics who chose, which is their right, to send their children to public school. We have to realize that with these choices, many Catholic schools will continue to close. If we do not attend the schools, they cannot keep their doors open.