Catholic school fights to stay open

Father Chris Berean of St. Mary of the Snow is fighting to keep that school open. (photo by Alen Fetahi)

Father Chris Berean of St. Mary of the Snow is fighting to keep that school open. (photo by Alen Fetahi)

Father Chris Berean hopes a two-pronged plan of increasing enrollment and cutting costs will keep St. Mary of the Snow Elementary School open. Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of New York announced that the school might close at the end of the school year because of falling enrollment. St. Joseph’s in Kingston is also on the list.

Father Christopher Berean is fighting the plan. He said many students would not be able to attend Catholic school if the local schools close.

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The goal is to increase enrollment from 90 students to 120. Berean and other church officials have been combing surrounding congregations making the case for a Catholic education. “We’ve talked to parishioners, here and in most of the other Catholic churches in Ulster County, and Greene, looking to bring students in,” Berean said.

Sounding very much like a Big 10 football recruiter, Berean said the school’s outreach has resulted in 14 families agreeing to send their children to the school.

It costs about $1 million to run the school, $600,000 of which comes from the Archdiocese. Berean didn’t specify a goal for budget reductions, saying only, “We want to be less reliant on Archdiocese support.”

The school will find out sometime in January if its efforts paid off, though Berean is optimistic; he talked to some friends within the Archdiocese who said St. Mary’s is headed in the right direction.

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