ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – January 15, 2010 – It is with much sadness that the Diocese of Rockville Centre announces that Corpus Christi Elementary School in Mineola will close as of June 2010. The Diocesan Education Commission and Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation has worked with the Corpus Christi parish and school for the last four years, hoping this decision did not have to be made. But the parish demographics and enrollment decline left the parish no alternative. The parish-based Pre-Kindergarten through eighth grade school opened its doors in 1922 and was originally staffed by the Sisters of St. Dominic.
It was a difficult year since the school administration and Diocesan Education Commission met with school parents in November 2008 indicating the serious decline in enrollment and what would be needed in terms of enrollment to keep the school viable for the foreseeable future. While the slight increase in enrollment for the current school year gave rise to a ray of hope and vote of confidence in the school, the school needed a significant increase beyond the current numbers to make up for losses in recent years and to insure that the school would remain open not just for one more year but for years to come. Although it seemed a monumental task to turn the tide in enrollment, many parents stepped forward to make this effort. For this the Church is most grateful.
Over the past 10 years, enrollment in Corpus Christi decreased nearly 58 percent or 248 students. In the year 2000, 431 students were enrolled in Corpus Christi. Current (2010) enrollment is 183 students.
Unfortunately, an extensive study and review of current enrollment as well as present and past demographics did not indicate that the required increase in enrollment would materialize. In particular, enrollment in first and second grade (14 and 12 students respectively) was the clearest sign that the school could not continue to operate.
The reasons behind the low enrollment are largely due to changing demographics and the difficult economic climate on Long Island. Enrollment of school-aged children in Corpus Christi parish’s Religious Education Program is also quite low, indicating an aging demographic in the parish. In addition, the financial challenges and deferred maintenance repairs of the school have become more than the parish can bear. The parish subsidy for the 2008-2009 school year was over $326,000 or 37 percent of regular collections and it is likely that the subsidy required would continue to rise this year and in the future. The benchmark for the subsidy set by the diocese is 25 percent.
“It is never easy to close a school,” said Sister Joanne Callahan, O.S.U., diocesan superintendent of schools. “The commission has worked with Corpus Christi parish and the school for the past four years, hoping this decision would not have to be made. But the demographics and enrollment decline left the parish no alternative. My hope is that parents will find another Catholic school in the area where their children can continue to receive
excellence in education and moral and religious formation.”
About The Catholic Church of Long Island
The Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) was formed in 1957 and covers 1,198 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1.5 million Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.4 million). There are 133 parishes in 115 towns. Last year over 17,000 baptisms, 19,000 confirmations, 17,000 first communions and 3,000 marriages took place in the diocese. There are approximately 20,000 students in Catholic elementary schools; 13,000 in secondary schools and 3,500 in higher institutions. There are 69 Catholic elementary and high schools and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of five hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. In 2008, Catholic Charities assisted more than 55,485 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (12/08).
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