SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Our Lady of Fatima School in Scarsdale is among several Catholic schools that will be forced to close due to financial and demographic concerns.
In November, 26 schools were alerted that they were in danger of being closed, including five in Westchester. Since 2007, the Archdiocese has subsidized Our Lady of Fatima and each year the subsidy has grown, peaking at $325,000 in the last academic year. The school has received slightly less than $1 million in the six years.
Superintendent of Schools Timothy McNiff told parents about the closure in a letter.
“Please know that this painful decision was made as a last resort,” he said. “Despite everyone’s best efforts, it was not possible to change the outcome of the situation.”
Following the November announcement, parents and students came together to try to preserve Our Lady of Fatima. Parents and faculty members held a “save the school” rally and the Rev. Hugh McManus pushed for letters to be written and funds to be donated.
The Archdiocese gave schools a chance to save themselves by proving they could have three guaranteed years of financial support to operate on their own. Officials at Our Lady of Fatima unsuccessfully pursued grants and fundraisers though didn’t provide enough capital.
Robert Aprea, who was picking his daughter up from Our Lady of Fatima on Tuesday afternoon, expressed his displeasure with the situation. He said it is going to be difficult for his daughter to continue her Catholic education.
“We’ve lost faith in the Archdiocese. There was something like $750,000 in donations and it wasn’t enough,” he said. “They let everyone go through this dog and pony show and it was all for nothing. My wife went to two Catholic schools today in the area and they are all full to capacity.”
Other Westchester schools that have been put on the endangered list include the Holy Name of Jesus School in Valhalla, St. Casmir School in Yonkers, Our Lady of the Assumption School in Peekskill and St. Theresa School in Briarcliff Manor. They will find out their fate by the end of the day Tuesday.
Officials at Our Lady of Fatima declined comment on Tuesday.
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