Two Catholic academies serving Queens are closing their doors for good this June.
The Diocese of Brooklyn announced on March 10 that Our Lady of the Angelus Catholic Academy in Rego Park and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Academy in Queens Village are shutting down as a result of steep enrollment drops and “severe budget deficits.”
According to the diocese, the numbers simply didn’t add up to keep both academies going. The student population at Our Lady of the Angelus (98-05 63rd Dr.) fell from 226 in 2012 to 130 this school year. That resulted in a budget deficit exceeding $440,000.
Likewise, at Our Lady of Lourdes (92-80 220th St.), enrollment fell from 302 in 2012 to 170 students this year, leaving the school with a $219,000 projected budget gap. The problems at Our Lady of Lourdes are even deeper, the diocese noted; there’s $120,000 in unpaid tuition payments owed by parents, and the school building is in need of more than $1.5 million in vital repairs.
That brings the total number of Catholic schools and academies closing in Queens this June to four. Earlier this year, St. Pancras School in Glendale announced it would close in June after more than a century of educating young students. The student population at the start of the 2017-18 school year was just 105, or about half of the enrollment it had six years ago.
Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy also announced it was closing its Bayside campus, operated out of the former St. Robert Bellarmine parish school, and moving all of their remaining students to the Douglaston campus, the former St. Anastasia School, in September.
Catholic schools across Brooklyn and Queens have been grappling with falling enrollment and resulting financial turmoil for years. The Diocese of Brooklyn previously closed dozens of parish schools in 2005 and 2009, and embarked on a system-wide “Preserving the Vision” reorganization program designed to keep Catholic education financially sound for years to come.
Our Lady of the Angelus and Our Lady of Lourdes, along with most other Catholic schools in the diocese, were converted into Academies, each of which have a two-tiered governance system: a “board of members” comprised of clergy and other staff members which serves as the school’s spiritual council; and a “board of directors” comprised of lay people who work with the school principal to oversee the day-to-day operations and raises funds for the academy.
The diocese is offering parents at both closing academies a one-time, $500 tuition assistance grant to re-enroll their children at another Catholic academy near them for September. Parents at Our Lady of Lourdes participated in a March 8 informational meeting with the diocese and other Catholic academies in the area; a similar session will be held for Our Lady of the Angelus this Wednesday night, March 14, at 7 p.m.
Catholic academies close to Our Lady of the Angelus include the following:
- Resurrection Ascension Catholic Academy, 85-25 61st Rd., Rego Park;
- St. Leo Catholic Academy, 104-19 49th Ave., Corona;
- Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Catholic Academy, 72-55 Austin St., Forest Hills;
- Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Academy, 70-25 Kessel St., Forest Hills;
- St. Adalbert Catholic Academy, 52-17 83rd St., Elmhurst;
- Our Lady of Hope Catholic Academy, 61-21 71st St., Middle Village; and
- St. Margaret Catholic Academy, 66-10 80th St., Middle Village.
The following Catholic schools are welcoming students from Our Lady of Lourdes:
- Incarnation Catholic Academy, 89-15 Francis Lewis Blvd., Queens Village;
- Saints Joachim and Anne School, 218-19 105th Ave., Queens Village;
- St. Gregory the Great Catholic Academy, 244-44 87th Ave., Bellerose; and
- Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy, 79-33 258th St., Floral Park.
The diocese noted that all families at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Academy must meet all of their financial obligations in order to register at a neighboring Catholic academy.