BROOKLYN — A longstanding Catholic high school will close its doors because of a significant decline in enrollment over the last decade, school officials said Monday.
Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School, on 19th Street and 10th Avenue in Windsor Terrace, will close at the end of the school year, bringing an end to 52 years of education, South Slope News first reported.
“I know that this is very upsetting and sad news for you and for your children,” principal Thomas Arria wrote in an open letter to parents posted on the school's website. “Speaking personally, I feel a deep sense of sadness over this decision. In the short time that I have been privileged to serve at Bishop Ford, I find myself genuinely enamored with the wonderful young people here.”
The board of directors voted unanimously to close Bishop Ford during an emergency meeting on Sunday, Arria wrote.
Declining enrollment and the need for repairs were the main reasons for the decision, according to the letter.
“There has not been a sufficient revenue stream other than tuition, which alone cannot support the operation,” Arria wrote.
The Catholic high school has seen a dramatic 75 percent drop in enrollment since 2006, when 1,347 students attended. About 420 were projected to enroll next year, the letter said.
Bishop Ford will ask other area Catholic high schools to give special consideration to former students trying to enroll elsewhere, Arria said.
Parents and alumni reacted with shock on the school’s Facebook page.
“Keep Bishop Ford open,” wrote Rosa Kane. “It’s terrible what you are doing to these children who attended there and incoming freshmen for next year, what happened to the best interest of the children? Overturn your decision.”