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Archdiocese: Briarcliff's St. Theresa to Close in June

The Briarcliff Manor-based Catholic school is one of 22 in New York that will be shutting down.

Barely two months after hearing of the Archdiocese of New York's "at-risk" list, Briarcliff Manor's St. Theresa School has learned it will be closing at the end of the academic year.

In a press release distributed Tuesday evening, the Archdiocese announced that St. Theresa's is among 22 of the 26 on the list that will be shuttered in June.

"Of the 26 at-risk elementary schools announced two months ago, four will remain open, and decisions about two additional schools on Staten Island have been deferred for several weeks to evaluate the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the region," according to the statement.

Each of the schools on the list was invited to present a financial plan to the Archdiocese before a final decision was made.

In a letter to parents at the beginning of January, St. Theresa School Principal Donna Sutton wrote, "When we left, we felt that we had done the best we could have" and said she was "cautiously optimistic" about the future.

"The decision to close the at-risk schools follows a painstaking, months-long review involving local decision-makers in accordance with Pathways to Excellence, the strategic plan for Catholic schools that was published in October 2010 and developed to assure a vibrant future for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New York," the Archdiocese said today. "This review included all relevant data, including enrollment, financial, academic and local demographics, to ensure the Board’s and Committee’s decisions would result in financially healthy, sustainable schools."

St. Theresa School has been open in Briarcliff Manor since 1965 and currently serves 147 students.

Following the news of the school's appearance on the "at-risk" list, parents and alumni sprung into action to raise funds and help publicize the school to area families. In December, the school also hosted an Occupy St. Theresa School event over the course of a weekend to continue fundraising.

The K through grade eight school also had open houses scheduled for Sunday and next Wednesday.

Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York stated Timothy McNiff stated, “As we move forward, we urge Governor Cuomo and the legislature to enact the Education Investment Incentives Act. This initiative, similar to those already enacted into law in 11 other states, would spur additional corporate and individual donations into education, generating $150 million in additional scholarships for families to enroll their children in Catholic and other religious and independent schools Moreover, the legislation would generate an equal level of additional contributions to public schools.” 

Other nearby elementary schools named on the closings list include Holy Name of Jesus in Valhalla, Our Lady of Fatima in Scarsdale, St. Saimir in Yonkers and Our Lady of the Assumption in Peekskill. According to the Archdiocese, the 22 schools closing represents 4,341 students throughout New York City, Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Dutchess, Sullivan, Ulster and Orange counties.

"The committees have acknowledged that four schools originally designated as “at-risk” submitted proposals that included viable long-term plans and will remain open," according to the press release. "They are: St. Gregory the Great in Manhattan, St. Mary School in East and Northeast Bronx, Sacred Heart in Newburgh, Orange County and Regina Coeli in Hyde Park, Dutchess County."

Two secondary schools, including St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle, will also be closing after being deemed "not sustainable."

Lanning Taliaferro January 23, 2013 at 02:33 AM
Here is another community's reaction to a school closed by the Archdiocese: http://peekskill.patch.com/articles/peekskill-s-assumption-school-to-close-this-year
SPP January 23, 2013 at 03:23 AM
Shame on the Archdiocese of New York for not supporting our Catholic youth -- what a terrible message to our children, that money matters more than they do.
johndough January 25, 2013 at 02:07 PM
I think it's telling that this local institution is closing...and only 2 people have commented about it! Ladies n gentlemen...we've entered a Brave New World here...the Archdiocese is in the midst of a massive restructuring...and closing schools are just a small part of this plan. Your Parish is next! If you're Catholic and you truly believe and care about your faith...you must act to stop this...it's time to orgnanize. Get together with your brothers and sisters in Christ...call those 'other' Catholics down the road...who were spared the sword...and get them to see things your way. If you don't act now then when...and before you send any contributions to that Annual Appeal...read this: http://www.economist.com/node/21560536

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