BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Some parents may still be fighting the Archdiocese of New York’s recent decision to close Briarcliff Manor’s St. Theresa School in June, but others are starting a mad scramble to find their children new places to go to school next year.
More than 140 students from prekindergarten through eighth-grade were expected to attend St. Theresa School in Briarcliff in the fall, but the school will be closed by The Archdiocese of New York. The school was one of five in Westchester targeted for closure as part of the archdiocese's consolidation effort. With hundreds of students needing new schools for next year and most Catholic schools near capacity, many parents have difficult choices to make.
It’s important for parents to consider all options, said Michael Molinelli, who helped to lead the group trying to save the school known as Helpers Of St. Theresa,.
“We have to look at all of our options, and we’ve looked at the local public schools in the Briarcliff School District and Ossining’s St. Augustine School is not far away,” Molinelli said Monday. “But these decisions need to be made quickly because St. Augustine is close to full right now. We’re not sure if they’re going to be able to accommodate everyone at this point, but we’re looking at that.”
Transfiguration School in Tarrytown is another option, Molinelli said. His twins are graduating this year, but he is weighing options for his sixth-grade son.
“We have one kid left so we need to find a solution for two years, but there are a lot of parents who will need to find something more long-term,” he said. “But if schools fill up, then I think we’ll need to seriously consider private schools that are much farther away or even home schooling. Thankfully, we have a little time left.”
But the time has run out to save St. Theresa School, Molinelli said. Some parents have discussed making further efforts to keep the school open.
“The archdiocese was very clear that we had up until January for a plan, and they would submit a decision. There wasn’t any sort of appeal process or anything else built in,” Molinelli said. “Some people may be trying, but there was nothing in the process that would allow us to make an appeal.”
St. Theresa School officials said they would work with parents to find openings for next year.
"Now, this group is investigating and assessing a range of new solutions for St. Theresa School — and we'll report quickly on their prospects,” representatives said in an email earlier this month. “In the meantime, administrators are cooperating with nearby Catholic schools to determine if openings exist for our students next year. Many thanks to everyone who has offered their support in this challenging time. We look forward to sharing better news soon.”