St. Jude Community Offers Funding Ideas to Save School

By Nigel Chiwaya on January 3, 2013 3:33pm 

INWOOD — They've scraped together $10,000, collected hundreds of signatures, and are willing to reinstate bingo nights and rent out party space.

Parents and alumni of St. Jude School were willing to try just about anything to try to keep their doors open, submitting a comprehensive plan to raise money in its letter to the archdiocese by Thursday's deadline.

St. Jude is one of several New York catholic elementary schools that are at risk of being shut down in June 2013. The Archdiocese of New York has allowed the schools until Jan. 3, and members of the school community scrambled to come up with ideas to keep the 59-year-old school afloat.

The school must come up with a plan to raise $350,000 annually for the next five years. Funding proposals submitted by parents to the school include hosting a bingo nights in the the school, putting up billboards on the side of the road, offering annual alumni dinners and renting space out to community groups.

In addition parents and alumni have pledged just under $10,000, and a petition to save the school has picked up over 400 signatures. Students have also written letters and drawn pictures asking the Archdiocese to save the school.

School supporters say that they would've had a stronger response if they had been given more advance notice. The Archdiocese announced that St. Jude was in danger of closing on Nov. 26, giving the school just five weeks to draft a plan.

School officials came under fire for a lack of communication in the weeks immediately following the announcement. But since making their displeasure with the administration public, parents and advocates said that the school has broken its silence, going to far as to host a parents meeting on Dec. 19.

Michael Jimenez, one of the alumni working to save St. Jude, has met with school officials several times.

He hopes that the proposal will show the Archdiocese that St. Jude can formulate a credible plan and will convince them to give them more time to mobilize.

"We didn't really have time,"  Jimenez said "Things like setting a non-profit account, reaching out to all of the alumni; these things take time."

"We're not asking for a year, we're just asking for maybe two months."

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