When the Pope John Paul II Family Academy opened in Bushwick in 2009, the vision was to provide students in one of the poorest areas of the Diocese of Brooklyn with a quality Catholic education made possible by the generous commitment of its benefactors. However, due to a necessary expansion and building repairs, the funding of the institution is no longer a possibility. Monies, which had been allocated to the academy, will now be directed for scholarships.
When St. Jerome’s Catholic School in East Flatbush opened in June, 2013 as an academy, it was predicated on increasing enrollment and collecting all tuition and fees. There are 235 students enrolled, and efforts to increase enrollment still leave the school with a deficit budget of $63,477.
As the new academy opened in September, 2013, the parish spent $31,974 to address necessary repairs. This is also complicated by the fact that the needed repairs to the academy building for 2014-2015 are estimated at $1 million. The amount would have to be covered by the parish of St. Jerome, and the parish does not have these funds. In addition, when the parish school closed in June, the amount of debt transferred to the parish was $288,006.
Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn, said that schools in neighboring parishes will have seats to accommodate the children from the schools who wish to continue to receive a Catholic education.
He also said that plans were 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.