NEWARK, NJ — Following a decrease in enrollment and financial hardship in the wake of COVID-19, the Newark Archdiocese will shutter a handful of elementary schools, including two located in Newark.
The Archdiocese said funding has been critically reduced since the onset of the pandemic and paid registrations for the 2020-2021 school year are also dramatically down. The following schools will no longer operate:
- Transfiguration Academy, Bergenfield
- St. Joseph Academy, Bogota
- The Academy of St. Mary, Rutherford
- St. Francis Xavier, Newark
- Ironbound Catholic Academy, Newark
In addition to the closures there will also be some mergers:
St. Joseph of the Palisades in West New York will merge with Mother Seton and St. Augustine School in Union City, and St. Joseph the Carpenter in Roselle will merge with Elizabeth’s Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Across the country, more Catholic schools close each month as a result of the pandemic’s financial impact. At least 100 have closed so far, according to the National Catholic Education Association.
Catholic schools serve mainly low-income communities of color as alternatives to traditional public schools. The Archdiocese of New York announced the closure of 20 of its schools this fall.
The Archdiocese would not comment on how many students would be displaced by the closures. In Newark, about 332 students attended Archdiocese schools, which employed roughly 28 teachers, according to Niche.com. Administrators, staff and families received notice through virtual meetings and correspondence, the Archdiocese added, noting that it would offer career resources and support to faculty and staff.
“I recognize that this news is profoundly painful for our students and their families, teachers and principals, school communities, and those who support Catholic education, as well as for our archdiocesan community,” Cardinal Joseph Tobin said. The difficult decision to further consolidate our Catholic Schools follows considerable discussion and examination of their viability under the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”