By Jon Cronin, Editor
The Brooklyn Catholic Diocese has announced that as a result of declining enrollment, the St. Pancras School in Glendale will close its doors in June.
In the past five years, the enrollment has dropped from 204 students in 2012 to 105 this school year, said Carolyn Erstad, a spokeswoman for the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese. She also noted that while yearly tuition was kept at $4,880 per student, the cost per student had risen to $6,000.
In addition, the parishioners had been generous in their donations and the Catholic Foundation and Futures in Education donated $500,000 to assist needy families, but the school still could not find a way to be financially viable. The 2017-2018 school year is projected to have a quarter of $1 million dollar deficit.
“The St. Pancras School community has worked diligently to grow the student body, but enrollment has declined by more than 50 percent over the past five years,” said Erstad. “Students at St. Pancras are welcome to enroll in any other Catholic academy or school in the Diocese of Brooklyn and will automatically receive a $500 tuition assistance grant.”
The Brooklyn Diocese has also reported that it lost 1,105 students from all of its 84 schools in the past year. Erstad said that 60 percent of losses are due to families moving out of New York City. Another 20 percent is attributed to families who can no longer afford the tuition.
There are no plans for the future use of the building, but the pre-K program will remain. The teachers at St. Pancras will be placed at other academies and schools within the diocese. Human resources will also help support staff find jobs within the diocese. Erstad said that the diocese loses 10 percent of its teacher workforce every year and should have no trouble placing the 10 teachers at other schools.
Erstad said that families who want to continue to going to Catholic schools under the purview of the Brooklyn Diocese will receive a $500 tuition assistance grant and noted that the closest option is Sacred Heart Academy, which is one mile away.
Some of the diocese’ closest schools are St. Matthias at 1.6 miles away, Notre Dame at 2.5 miles and St. Margarets at 2.5 miles. Students are also encouraged by the Diocese to apply to St. Stanislaus in Maspeth.
“Everything will go on—uninterrupted—through the end of the year,” Erstad said. “No programs or activities will be canceled—business as usual. “
State Sen. Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach), himself a product of Catholic schooling, said that he was upset to hear of the closing.
“It saddens me to see a fine Catholic school forced to stop operations due to a lack of funds and low enrollment rates,” he said. “St. Pancras has been educating children and growing the Catholic faith in Glendale for over 100 years and it is a shame to see that come to an end.”
Reach Jon Cronin at 718-357-7400, ext. 125, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JonathanSCronin.