Catholic school set to close despite fundraising

January 28, 2013 8:31:08 PM PST
Some Catholic school parents are fighting back and trying to keep their kids school from shutting down.

They've raised hundreds of thousands of dollars as they claim the church said to do if they wanted to avoid shutting it down.

But now, the church is closing Holy Cross school in Hell's Kitchen anyway.

The parents are furious.

Antonia says that after June, she may never see her best friend again.

"I feel bad for her too," Antonia said.

"You're going to miss each other?" Eyewitness News asked.

"Exactly," Antonia said.

When parents first found out that the archdiocese was closing the Holy Cross School, they raised over $600,000 to keep it going.

Still, the archdiocese said the school must close. It's located just a block from Times Square, and parents think they know why it's closing.

"Valuable real estate of course," one parent said.

"We just happen to be now just sitting on some prime Manhattan real estate," said Valentina Morales, a parent.

"It's not just about finances," said Joseph Zwilling, the archdiocese spokesperson.

The archdiocese says it's not about real estate, they need to strengthen Catholic education and consolidating schools is part of the process.

"We have a commitment to Catholic education, it's here to stay, we're going to make it better, but we have to do it in a new way, because the old way just wasn't working," Zwilling said.

"I went from Holy Cross, to the Notre Dame School, to Wellesley College, I graduated Phi Beta Kappa Summa Cum Laude, I went to Columbia Law School, and in the end I'm a kid from the streets of Hell's Kitchen and this school is made for kids like me, and there are so many of them out there, and without schools like this, I just don't even know what would happen to them," Morales said.

One of the big problems at this school and many Catholic schools in this area is enrollment. Holy Cross has just half the students now than it did eight years ago. With that trend, $650,000 may not be enough.

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