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Two Catholic grammar schools on LI to close in June

St. Joseph's School in Ronkonkoma on March 10,

St. Joseph's School in Ronkonkoma on March 10, 2014. Credit: Ian J. Stark

Two Catholic grammar schools will close in June because of declining enrollment, the Diocese of Rockville Centre said Thursday.

St. Joseph School in Ronkonkoma and All Saints Regional School in Glen Cove, both prekindergarten through eighth grade, are being subsidized by the diocese and their parishes to make up for drops in tuition revenue and school fundraising, the diocese said. 

“This was a difficult decision — one that was made after much thought and prayer,” Superintendent Kathleen Walsh said in statement. 

The number of students at St. Joseph has declined 31 percent in the past five years, from 176 to 121. For the same period, subsidies totaled nearly $2 million — $1.5 million from the parish and $455,000 from the diocese. Despite the financial assistance, the school had a cumulative deficit of $1.2 million, the diocese said.

For this school year, the Ronkonkoma parish expects to provide another $500,000, which equals about 44 percent of total collections, the diocese said.

“This level of financial dependence on the parish is not sustainable,” the diocese said.

Five parishes — St. Boniface Martyr in Sea Cliff, St. Hyacinth in Glen Head, St. Mary in Roslyn, and St. Patrick and St. Rocco, both in Glen Cove — support All Saints School, which has seen its enrollment drop 27 percent in five years. Today, the number of students stands at 132, down from 180 in the 2013-14 school year. 

For the same five years, the parishes have contributed $1.88 million and the diocese has given $1.46 million in subsidies. This school year, the parishes expect to contribute $370,000 and the diocese put its aid package at $450,000.

The diocese currently has 45 grammar schools with 13,722 students and nine high schools with 10,512 students. Religious orders or parishes operate seven of the high schools. 

“My department will assist parents and students in the process of selecting and transferring to any Catholic elementary school within our diocese,” Walsh said.

The diocese plans to hold open houses at other Catholic schools and is staffing a telephone information line to answer parents’ questions.

Last year, the diocese closed Our Lady of Lourdes in West Islip, an elementary school, and Bishop McGann-Mercy High School in Riverhead, and merged two elementary schools — Our Lady of Mercy Regional School in Cutchogue and St. Isidore School in Riverhead.

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