ROCKVILLE CENTRE, NEW YORK, April 12, 2005 - The Diocese of Rockville Centre announced today that St. Joachim parish elementary school in Cedarhurst will close at the conclusion of the 2004-2005 academic year in June 2005.
Over the past ten years, St. Joachim’s school experienced a 53 percent decrease in enrollment in its kindergarten through eighth grade student population. St. Joachim parish school has been supported by a small parish of 722 registered families. Further, six students enrolled in St. Joachim’s school live within the geographic boundaries of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, while 118 students reside within the geographic boundaries of the Diocese of Brooklyn. The current enrollment of 123 students along with next year’s registered enrollment of 130 make continuation of the school financially unsustainable. Administrators, teachers, parents and parishioners were notified of the closing last week. Registration fees paid to the school in anticipation of the 2005-2006 academic year will be returned.
A hoped for increase in enrollment resulting from the recently announced school closings in the Brooklyn diocese did not materialize. “We have tried every way to encourage parents in the community and area communities to send their children to us,” said Reverend Paul F. Rahilly, pastor, Church of St. Joachim, Cedarhurst, N.Y. “However, high tuition, the burden of transportation and extended fees have taken their toll. Add to the mix that ours is a small parish and the financial burden becomes much more difficult to handle.”
School administration is assisting affected families in choosing alternative Catholic schools in the Diocese of Rockville Centre and the Diocese of Brooklyn. “We will make sure that every student in our school has an opportunity to continue their value-centered education in the Catholic school system,” said Sister Barbara Yander, CSJ, principal, St. Joachim school.
“It’s very, very difficult for a parish to make the decision to close a school,” said Sister Joanne Callahan, OSU, superintendent of schools, Diocese of Rockville Centre. “However, after much deliberation with Father Rahilly, Sister Barbara and parish trustees, it was agreed that the parish could not continue to support the school. It was because of the sheer dedication and sacrifice of the parishioners, administrators and teachers that the school remained open for as long as it did.”
About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre was formed in 1957 and covers 1,222 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.5 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3 million). There are 134 parishes in 119 towns. Last year over 21,000 baptisms, 18,000 confirmations, 21,000 first communions and 5,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 2,622 students in kindergarten, 26,738 in primary or elementary school, 11,979 in secondary school and 9,310 in higher institutions. There are 77 Catholic elementary schools, high schools and colleges/universities in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, two home care agencies, two senior housing complexes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. These facilities served over 743,000 people last year. For more information visit www.drvc.org
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