College Pt. Institution In Fiscal Woe
Faced with declining enrollment and increased operating costs, St. Fidelis School in College Point will close in June, the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens announced.
Enrollment statistics cited by the diocese indicate that in the current school year, St. Fidelis has 144 students in kindergarten to eighth grade. This represents a decline from five years earlier, when 242 students attended the school, which opened in 1857.
The diocese reportedly holds a longstanding principle for parish schools in Brooklyn and Queens in which any school which has its enrollment drop below 225 students is identified as at-risk of closing.
Meanwhile, the escalating costs of operating the school have placed a burden on St. Fidelis, according to parish financial data. Tuition is $3,400 per child but the per-pupil cost is $6,119. The parish does not have the financial resources to bridge the gap.
“St. Fidelis School will be fully operational until the last day of school, continuing to provide a quality education,” said Msgr. Denis Heron, administrator. “We place our trust in God and ask His guidance as we move into the future. We ask your understanding and cooperation.”
Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn, said that schools in neighboring parishes will have seats to accommodate children from St. Fidelis. He also said that plans are underway to assist the faculty members who wish to teach at another Catholic school in Brooklyn or Queens. They will be placed on a priority list that will be sent to principals.
For more information on the diocese’s Catholic schools system, visit their website, www.mybqcatholicschool.com.