Two west Bronx Catholic schools set to close in June

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Elementary School.
Schneps Media/Alex Mitchell

Two Bronx Catholic schools that have been bedrocks of education in the borough for decades are set to close at the end of June.

St. Nicholas of Tolentine elementary school of 2336 Andrews Avenue will wind down its operations along with fellow St. Joseph elementary school of 1946 Bathgate Avenue as the school year wraps up.

Despite what the Archdiocese of New York called its “best efforts to maintain the operational and financial viability of these schools,” it released a statement that noted the uphill battle that the schools had faced recently.

Specifically, the Archdiocese cited “continuing to educate students in buildings that are underutilized and/or in need of significant improvements has proven unfeasible.”

“We will work with all students who are seeking to continue their Catholic education to find a seat at another excellent school in the Archdiocese,” said Dr. Timothy McNiff, the Superintendent of Archdiocesan Schools.

Since the announcement back on Monday, February 4 the Archdiocese has been holding informational session to aid in students transferring and remaining in the Catholic educational system.

All affected families will be welcomed in neighboring Catholic schools, with applications for financial aid and scholarships available for the upcoming academic year, according to the Archdiocese.

Cardinal Timothy Dolan regrettably acknowledged the Bronx school closures along with others around the city as well.

“We understand the impact this will have on families, and will provide both pastoral support and educational guidance to all those affected in order to ensure all children will be warmly welcomed into a nearby Catholic school where they will continue to learn and thrive,” he said.

St. Nicholas of Tolentine School started 110 years with only 90 students.

When the school first opened its doors, the Augustinian Fathers and the Sisters of Charity taught the students. Since then it had grown into one of the borough’s most prominent youth educational outlets. It’s tuition was $4,750 per year.

Meanwhile, St. Joseph’s history dates back to the 1950s and has emphasized “the education of the soul is the soul of education” throughout its years.

This year St. Joseph’s tuition was $5,050 annually. Both of the elementary schools have deep roots within Assemblyman Victor Pichardo’s west Bronx district, he said.

“I am saddened to hear that St. Nicholas of Tolentine and St. Joseph School, both of which have been a part of the fabric of the west Bronx for generations, will be closing their doors,” Pichardo said.

He is working with the Archdiocese and parents of students during the time of transition.

“But more importantly I plan to make sure that the students continue to receive a high quality education, and that each family continues to receive the support services that they need,” the assemblyman added.

The Archdiocese created a page on its website to direct parents that are looking to keep their children in the Catholic school system.

Visit catholicschoolsny.org for more information.

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