The New York Archdiocese has decided to allow two Catholic schools in Ulster County to remain open and separate. The move comes after one of the schools had been slated to close.
Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York Dr. Timothy McNiff announced Wednesday that St. Joseph School in uptown Kingston and Kingston Catholic School in downtown would remain open and independent, backing off a decision in February to merge the two elementary schools. The merger decision had come after St. Joseph’s was on a final list of 24 Catholic school closures, announced in January. After battling the closure decision, parents, educators and others fought the merger decision, forming an ad-hoc committee to make their case. Kingston Mayor Shayne Gallo, an alumnus of St. Joseph’s, says if it weren’t for the grassroots efforts of parents and other community leaders,
A sentiment echoed by Fran Davies, spokeswoman for the Archdiocese.
She says that all the New York Catholic schools will undergo an annual review of plans and budgets and St. Joseph’s will be treated no differently in this respect. And the Archdiocese will, in its annual evaluation, ensure St. Joseph’s is meeting its goals.
The ad-hoc committee formed around the time of the merger decision hired an outside consulting firm to put together a report on an alternative proposal to the merger. Jeanne Dolamore is the principal of St. Joseph School. She says the ad-hoc committee researched demographics, building capacity and programming, among other items.
She says there were town hall meetings in Kingston, and a push from parents to avoid the merger, to avoid the schools being split by grade level.
Archdiocese Superintendent Dr. McNiff visited the schools, and held public meetings as well.
And Mayor Gallo underscores the importance of having both schools serve the community.
Jill Albert is the principal of Kingston Catholic School.
And she talks about the importance of keeping the two schools separate.
The Archdiocese Wednesday reiterated that St. Mary of the Snow, in Saugerties, which was on the original closure list, will still be closed.