Despite a to save school, the Diocese of Rockville Centre reiterated Wednesday that the decision to close is final.
“St. John Baptist de La Salle Regional School has been such an important part of the parish communities of Saint Kilian, Saint James, Saint Martin and Saint Pius X. We recognize that closing a beloved Catholic school is filled with emotion," said Sean P. Dolan, director of communications for the Diocese of Rockville Centre, in a statement.
A said that the school would be one of six Long Island Catholic elementary schools to close this June, as a result of declining enrollment and other factors. Since then parents Rick Pinto, Kim Alloca, Tim Carney, Anthony Scuderi, Michelle Bartone and Heather Funk have spearheaded a plan to save La Salle through a rally, letter-writing/calling campaign to the Diocese and a petition.
The group launched pages on Facebook and Twitter and the website www.savelasalleregional.org, which contains a form letter for parents to send in, flyers to pass out and a petition to sign. A rally is scheduled for Jan. 7 at noon starting at the Village Green and proceeding to the front of the school.
The statement from the Diocese continued on to cite La Salle's 41 percent enrollment drop and said that it is the Diocese's hope that this :
"It is a very difficult decision to close this school as well as the five other schools across Long Island," the statement said. "Like in many public school districts, there has been a significant decline in enrollment at Saint John Baptist de La Salle Regional. Current K-8 enrollment is 184 students, which represents a 41 percent decline since the 2000-01 school year. The review of enrollment and current and future demographic trends for school-age children do not indicate that a significant increase in enrollment will materialize. When the time is right, we remind parents that there are elementary schools nearby who will welcome their children for the 2012-2013 academic year. With the announced closings, it is our hope that there will be no more school closings beyond Bishop Murphy’s time as bishop.”
La Salle was formed when St. James in Seaford, St. Martin of Tours in Bethpage, 's in Farmingdale and St. Pius X in Plainview all faced low enrollments in 1994 and merged into one regional school. There were originally campuses in both Bethpage and Farmingdale, but the Bethpage campus closed several years back.