Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Academy in Queens Village will close at the end of the current academic year. The announcement was made Feb. 28 in a letter to parents, saying that the action as being taken with “deep regret and profound sadness.”
The letter said that “continuing economic challenges” and “a rapidly decreasing pool of students choosing Catholic school education in our area” were the determining factors.
This year’s budget showed a deficit of $200,000 and enrollment is down 75 percent from five years ago with just 170 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.
Tuition at Our Lady of Lourdes is $4,450 but that does not cover the cost of educating a child, which is more than $6,000 per year.
The academy building also needs $1.5 million in repairs.
“The parish does not have the funds to makes these repairs,” said the letter that was signed by Debra Molloy, principal, and Cynthia Nierer, academy board chairperson.
“Despite the best efforts of our principal, faculty, staff and board to market Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Academy, the fact remains that the school has lost about 127 students in the past five years,” the letter explained.
“This school year our average class size is just 18 students. While it may seem that a small class size is desirable, tuition for this type of education normally approaches $15,000 or more.”
Nearby Catholic schools, Incarnation, SS. Joachim and Anne, both Queens Village; St. Gregory the Great, Bellerose; and Our Lady of the Snows, N. Floral Park, have extended invitations to families to register their children.
The diocese’s St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust will provide a one-time $500 financial grant to each student enrolling and attending an alternative Catholic academy or school next year.