New York Archdiocese Identifies 32 'At-Risk' Schools

The Archdiocese of New York has identified 32 of its 185 Catholic schools as "at risk,” meaning they could lose their subsidies at the end of the year. Spokesman Joseph Zwilling said a committee of parents, pastors, and education officials took many factors into account -- including the proximity of neighboring Catholic schools -- to determine which schools were in danger.

"They looked at things like enrollment. They looked at the condition of the buildings. They looked at the demographics, future demographics, as well as those could be predicted in our mobile society," he said. "And they looked at the subsidy that the schools receive from the archdiocese."

Zwilling said the 32 schools will receive $12.5 million in subsidies from the archdiocese this academic year. "Finances really are a function, or an outgrowth, of enrollment," he said. "Many of these schools have an enrollment of 75, 89, 96, 104 students in grades K-8. And that's simply not sustainable long-term."

Leaders from the at-risk schools will have several weeks to present the case for their schools to continue receiving subsidies from the archdiocese.

Zwilling said Archbishop Timothy Dolan will determine which schools will lose their subsidies in January. Then, it will be up to the pastor of each school to decide whether it can survive, or needs to close at the end of the year.

The archdiocese's list of "at-risk" schools includes Saint Joseph of the Holy Family in Harlem, Saint Augustine in the Bronx, and Saint Mary Margaret on Staten Island. A total of 15 schools in the city were identified as "at-risk." For the complete list, visit the archdiocese's Web site.