Saint Augustine School Closing In June

Archdiocese of New York notifies Saint Augustine officials that its doors will close at the end of the school year


Saint Augustine School learned today that from the Archdiocese of New York that it will close at the end of the school year. Those involved with the effort to keep the school open reacted strongly to the news.

“This news is devastating and extremely disappointing for our school, our Parish and the entire community,” Step Up For SAS Chairperson Bethann Rooney said. “The students, parents and faculty are heartbroken.” 

Rooney went on to say, “The Archdiocese invited us to play a game, but set all of the rules so that we never had a chance of winning.  They are harvesting our students to feed and sustain other Catholic schools in Rockland County.”

Step Up For SAS presented a proposal to the Saint Dominic Catholic School Region of Rockland that specified how Saint Augustine School planned to achieve financial self-sustainability that did not require financial support from the Parish or Archdiocese.  When the Archdiocese announced the list of “at risk” schools on November 26, Saint Augustine also learned it would need to raise $1.245 million. The school exceeded that amount by $855,000 through fundraising, revenue enhancements and expense reductions.

School officials have already stated Saint Augustine meets or exceeds the objectives of the Archdiocese’s multi-year strategic plan.

Principal Katharine Murphy expressed sadness about the news, “Saint Augustine School exemplifies everything the Archdiocese wants for their schools.  We are the educational beacon they should be navigating toward not away from.”

Floyd Morse January 22, 2013 at 09:58 PM
And all the while spending hundreds of thousands to protect pedophile priests. Can't change something unless we recognize it people.
Floyd Morse January 22, 2013 at 10:00 PM
And all the while spending hundreds of thousands to protect pedophile priests. Can't change something unless we recognize problem people.
SASNewCity January 22, 2013 at 10:02 PM
The Archdiocese claims that the deliberations of the Board are "confidential." While we understand that the details are confidential, the Board should be able to defend their decision publically.
Mike January 22, 2013 at 10:04 PM
DING, DING, DING, DING and Floyd wins for being the first Catholic basher to link this completely unrelated story to the sexual abuse scandal. Nice going Floyd
Floyd Morse January 22, 2013 at 10:13 PM
Mike. I'm talking money right now. the morality of what has happened I leave to you. the payouts have been enormous.
Mark Neumann January 22, 2013 at 10:39 PM
They give the school a "goal". The goal is met? Closed anyway! As a Catholic School educated guy (albeit, in the Bronx) I find this appalling (hate to use this term but they "LIED" to the school officials, parents and, most importantly, the children!)!
Dona Connor January 22, 2013 at 11:23 PM
I was there when when St Augustines opened. The Dominican nuns were our teachers. They did not require the paychecks that teachers need nowadays to cover living expenses. All school expenses have increase. The Clarkstown School taxes are high. How should families pay for the taxes and an additional school tuition. It is a beautiful school and a beautiful parish but we all know it is a tough financial time. It is a very difficult decision for the church to close any school. It is heatbreaking but the Archdiocese is working hard to keep as many schools open as possible.
Charles W. Samoylo January 22, 2013 at 11:34 PM
The decision by the Archdiocese of New York is a total SHAM. St. Augustine School had some of the highest test scores among it's students.I would like to know the whole truth for it's closure. St Augsutine's School is center of Rockland .A real slap in the face after all it's efforts to keep it open.Shame on you the Archdiocese of New York.I personally feel for the teachers and the students who now need to look for jobs and students new schools.
Catherine Baker January 22, 2013 at 11:47 PM
A sad day!
Dr. Michael Cocilovo January 23, 2013 at 12:10 AM
It is one-sided "business only" decisions like this that have placed the Catholic Church in the precarious position that they find themselves. Over and over,the hierarchy prove that they have no sense of the "pulse of the Faithful". Having practiced in this community for over 25 years,my heart goes out to so many good and faithful friends and patients who have dedicated themselves tirelessly to that parish- only to get abandoned. We as Catholics however, need to separate our disdain for the Organization from our love of our Faith.
Joan K January 23, 2013 at 12:37 AM
What will happen to the school, maybe it would be a nice place for an animal shelter?
Mike Hirsch January 23, 2013 at 02:49 AM
Not very funny at all. I suggest that you plant that rose where the sun doesn't shine. This closing is a huge loss for our community.
stephany January 23, 2013 at 04:20 AM
I would attempt to sue the Archdiocese. Or has that been ruled out. if you were given a goal and can prove it,and that you met it +855K there was possibly a legal breach of something. Try to get it on fox-cnn-msnbc news, that they went back on their word and can not be trusted. would defending a lawsuit,even one that did not make it to trial, be cheaper then keeping the school open-never mind the bad press-use the money you collected.
johndough January 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM
Dolan and his lacky Dr. McNiff have no shame...and obviously are oblivious of Christ's social justice teachings. The entire Church as a whole has been hijacked by accountant/bureaucrats...if you're Catholic and you love your Church you must make your voice heard in a real way. This means not just posting your opinions...but getting in the Face of this imposter! As Fr, Hans Kung states...it time to Rebel! http://ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/hans-kung-urges-peaceful-revolution-against-roman-absolutism
joe sanchez January 23, 2013 at 12:50 PM
people should begin to runderstandthe realities of the real world. Their holier than thou and superiority complexes about their religion and their ability to educate spells doom in any society. we're in a money first world and i'm sure most of the people of this parish live in the top 90% of wealth in this great country. time for them to start giving back especially to the underprivileged schools that exist all around them
Mary Zuckerman January 23, 2013 at 02:07 PM
You, Mr. Sanchez, obviously know nothing about this parish, school, or the people who go there. They are hard working people, not the top 90% of wealth as you stated. Please know your facts before you rush to judgement.
johndough January 23, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Stephany is correct! Direct action is needed and its needed NOW! Don't wait...the iron is hot...time is the Archdiocese's ally...they figure as it passes people will calm down...forget about it...just accpet it...and things will stabilize. We can't make that happen...because they'll just do this again. They told us 2 years ago they were done closing schools...and here we are 2 years later...more schools closed...and our children are affected....OUR children! Don't let them get away with it...don't let them get a free pass...
Debra January 23, 2013 at 05:12 PM
The Archdiocese is insured for those claims.
Sunday January 23, 2013 at 05:26 PM
As a parishioner of St. Peter's Church, former student of their school and the lead for the fundraising to keep St. Peter's School open, I am truly sorry that the archdiocese chose to close St. Augustine as well as St. Peter's. There is so much wrong with the decision and the archdiocese. These are two fine schools with amazing students and staff. The foolish choice the archdiocese made will cause them another black eye and this time, it's personal for many of us. I could say so much more, but at the moment, we just need to focus on our children and how we can help them to transition to their upcoming new schools. After that, the gloves are off and I plan to have my say to the powers that think they are higher than our Almighty God! I have news for them!
One love January 23, 2013 at 06:37 PM
I am FRIGHTENED to find out who might purchase this property and what "they" intend to do with it. I'M out of here if there is even a hint of this.....So sad:(
johndough January 23, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Sunday...you're absolutely right...right now the most important thing is to help our children who've been so callously displaced make a smooth transition. But you're final comment is spot on. We can't loose site of this injustice...and we need to unite and let the Archdiocese...and especially Dolan and Dr. McNiff...know just how dis-pleased we are where their lack of leadership. If you want to get a glimpse of what our Archdiocese is in for...take a look at what's happened to Dolans previous post...Milwaukee. They've been riddled with abuse cases...allegations of shady money deals...filed for bankruptcy...and just released a plan to cut their schools and parished in HALF! Decades from now...when historians write about the Fall of American Catholicism...Dolan's name will play a prominent role in that demise. If we truly care about our faith here in NY...we need to organize and stand up to them! And we need to remember that Christ is in US! Fill our lives with people and experiences that genuinely express His mission...and if a Cardinal falls short of that goal...then we need to have to courage to stand up to him!
Mary Alice Hohenberger January 23, 2013 at 08:37 PM
Joan, The effect of your comment probably hit the families who are grieving the loss of this school about as compassionately as if you told someone your mother died and they asked if they could have her piano. THINK.
joe s. January 24, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Let's face it, the schools that were closed did not under perform. They were too expensive for the people of the community. In fact, they were uppity. They catered to parents with money and they became dysfunctional. Their tuitions are too high and their teachers are overpaid. And the same teachers send their kids to school tuition free. For example, I know of a math teacher who sent here 3 children to school for free. And they were given preferential treatment in school. Of course 2 of them graduated with honors and scholarships to private catholic high schools (one is still in 8th grade now), It is about time that the diocese clamped down on these type of schools and their exclusivity. It shouldn't be about the have and have not people of clarkstown or anywhere else.
Sunday January 24, 2013 at 06:21 PM
Joe S. Just a quick question. Where did you get this information that the kids of teachers go to school for free and that only the uppity send their kids to Catholic School? Just curious.
Step Up For SAS January 24, 2013 at 11:26 PM
Joe S – I’d suggest you check your facts before you post completely untrue and slanderous comments. • The tuition charged is a fraction of the actual cost to educate each child. • Most families sacrifice to send their children to Catholic School. They are far from reserved for the “uppity” • Catholic Schools save the local school districts money but we don’t get our fair share of state and federal funding. • Teacher salaries are significantly lower than their public school counterparts. Teaching is a vocation for these men and women and they will never be rich. They are hardworking middle class heroes. • The claim that “a math teacher sent her 3 children for free” is completely un-true. She, and all teachers, pay tuition for their children just like the rest of us. Since you seem to know her and her family so well, perhaps you can ask to see her cancelled checks and let the facts speak for themselves. • Her exceptionally talented children worked hard for their achievements in an exceptional school and earned every last penny of their cholarship money. There was no special treatment for her children or any other students.
johndough January 25, 2013 at 05:50 PM
In case anyone reading these posts is still crazy enough to consider donating to the Cardinal's Appeal...you might want to read this article first: http://www.economist.com/node/21560536
Mary Ann Casey January 26, 2013 at 03:50 AM
Joe s. I do not know where you got your information from, but you are misinformed. My three children graduated from St. Augustine, and we are in the East Ramapo School District, as are many families. I was the secretary of the school for 24 years, and I can tell you for a fact that it is not an "uppity" school nor are the families wealthy. Families sacrifice to send their children to St. Augustine for their Catholic faith, values, and quality education. Over the years many non-catholics students have graduated from the school. No special treatment was given to students, every one worked hard. Teachers are not paid high salaries, even though they have the highest credentials. They are dedicated men and women who have chosen to work in a Catholic school. Over the years I have seen Principals and teachers go above and beyond to help students and families that have needed help. As for teachers not paying tuition, that is totally untrue. Everyone pays tuition. Children going to this school become a family. They have made special friendships that will carry over into high school, college, etc. Former students have even returned to enroll their children into St. Augustines's because of their memories and the great education they received. It is very heartbreaking that this is happening. The closing of St. Augustine School is a tremendous loss to the families, students, Principal, teachers, and the community Please get your facts straight and show some COMPASSION.
Debbie February 07, 2013 at 05:38 PM
So sad. I went to catechism there when the public school bused us. Was baptized in the Church. You really cannot go home again
Miffed Catholic School Parent February 19, 2013 at 04:46 PM
We just got our Cardinal Appeal on Sunday (St Casimir's in Yonkers, also slated to close). We've spent the last few weeks trying to get an appointment with the Archdiocese but they've turned a deaf ear. We were only required to come up with $140,000 a year. We came up with double that through a modest increase in tuition of $800. Now with the school closing, we have to pay $1,600 more if we send our kids to another school. Since the Archdiocese has chosen to turn a deaf ear to us, we will do the same. The envelope will be returned empty. At least we are supporting the Post Office. So much for "Do unto others..."
Rene Castaldo March 04, 2013 at 09:21 PM


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