Catholic School Scramble

As parents scramble to find new schools for their children attending seven Bronx Catholic schools set to close in June, dozens of teachers will also be looking for new jobs.

Seventy five teachers – 36 tenured, 28 non-tenured and 11 part time – will be put on an “available teachers” list for area schools of their preference, said the Federation of Catholic Teachers, their collective bargaining unit.

“There is a provision in our contract that provides for placement procedures that helps the teachers, especially those that are tenured, in any of the schools that are going to close,” said FCT president Patricia Gabriel. “The teachers are placed on a list, based on whether they are tenured, not tenured, or part time.”

Teachers who are tenured, or have at least a Bachelor of Arts and have taught for three consecutive years, will have seniority over non-tenured and part time teachers.

The Bronx lost the most schools as a total of 22 were told they’d be closed by June, their students absorbed into other nearby schools. Of the 26 at-risk elementary schools announced two months ago, four will remain open.

After a long process of fundraising, rallies, and financial planning only St. Mary’s school in Williamsbridge was spared in the Bronx.

Our Lady of Mercy in Fordham; Holy Spirit elementary school in Morris Heights; Our Lady of Angels school in Kingsbridge; St. Jerome school in Mott Haven; St. Anthony’s School in Wakefield; St. Mary Star of the Sea school on City Island, and Blessed Sacrament in Soundview, the alma mater of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, will close.

The total registration of all eight schools was less than 2,000 students, which the diocese called economically unfeasible.

Although Gabriel said she can not guarantee a job for every teacher, she thinks many of the Bronx tenured teachers will be placed.

“Because there is a large number of schools in the Bronx and Manhattan, there will be a lot of turnover,” Gabriel said. “We haven’t had a problem placing teachers in Bronx and Manhattan.”

“I would hope the majority of teachers in the Bronx will be placed but I can’t guarantee that,” Gabriel said. “You can always hope that some of the kids that go from the closing schools go to other Catholic schools, which would create another class and a need for another teacher.”

Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3394

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