Paterson Catholic High School to close

April 22, 2010 2:55:35 PM PDT
More money problems for Catholic schools. This time a school in New Jersey is shutting down. Many Paterson Catholic students never thought this day would actually come. Their school closing is down for good by June.

"It's sad. We were crying. All my friends," senior Yhaharey Montesino said.

"They'd been saying that since my freshman year, now they confirmed it. It's sad," senior Fuquan Edwin said.

Mounting debt and declining enrollment, which have shuttered a number of urban area catholic schools in the region, have now handed P.C., as the students call it, it's fate.

"It's hard to imagine this school not being here, not hearing that P.C. scored again against the competition," Paterson resident Gina Van Winkle said.

Paterson Catholic is 6 million dollars in debt to the diocese, which hands the school 400-thousand dollars in subsidies each year.

Tuition is a huge problem. At 55-hundred dollars per year per student, a little more than half the families have paid what they owe right now. Finally, fewer families are here. Enrollment dropped by 90 kids since 2008.

With fundraisers falling terribly short, the diocese says it had no choice to close a school one teacher calls an oasis for its students.

"This is a family. We kept kids out of trouble, out of gangs, gave them more than attention," English teacher Tom Schwab said.

The students, clinging to any chance, are hoping for a Hail Mary pass.

"If anybody can give us money, please help us. We need it," junior Shania Gomez said.

The diocese plans to provide 400-thousand dollars in scholarships to Paterson Catholic students, who transfer to other private schools. It will pour a million dollars into Catholic elementary schools in urban areas, it says as it's commitment to urban education.