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Twelve City Catholic Elementary Schools, One High School To Close In June

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The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced Tuesday that local boards, pastors and school administrators have decided to close 22 of its parochial elementary schools in June, including five in Manhattan and seven in the Bronx.

The closing Manhattan schools are Annunciation, Holy Cross, Holy Name of Jesus, St. James-St. Joseph and St. Jude.

In the northwest and South Bronx, Holy Spirit, Our Lady of Angels, Our Lady of Mercy and St. Jerome are the four schools marked for closure.

Another three schools, Blessed Sacrament, St. Anthony and St. Mary Star of the Sea, are closing in the east and northeast sections of the Bronx.

The St. Agnes Boys' High School will also close next year as a result of the decision of the archdiocese.

The decision impacts seven New York State counties, including Westchester and Rockland counties.

The closings will affect approximately 4,000 students, or 9 percent of enrollment.

One of the Bronx schools, Blessed Sacrament, counts Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor among its alumni.

Two city schools, one in the Bronx and one in Manhattan, avoided closure by submitting long-term plans that were approved by the archdiocese.

Decisions on two at-risk Staten Island schools have been delayed to allow for assessment of Hurricane Sandy damage.

The archdiocese said the closings were a financial decision that also took academic, enrollment and demographic data.

According to the archdiocese, it costs $7,000 per year to educate each child, but parents only pay half of that. Fundraising covers much of the rest.

It's not clear if that will change, but the archdiocese said it needs to save money by reducing overhead.

The archdiocese said the goal is to educate the same number of students in fewer schools.

Timothy McNiff, school superintendent of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, said he wants parents to know that the same education is available at another and that there was nothing wrong with the schools that are closing.

"They're not failing schools," McNiff said. "They're closing because the financial model that we have cannot sustain these schools anymore. Two hundred and seventy-six schools three years ago collectively realized a deficit of $24 million that the archdiocese had to subsidize, and obviously, that's not a sustainable model."

Students at the closing schools are expected to transfer to another Catholic school. The archdiocese said that starting next week, every effort will be made to help students transfer into another Catholic school for the 2013-14 school year.

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