2015-01-14 / Front Page

Don't Close Our School

BY JASON D. ANTOS


Parents and students gathered in the cold and pouring rain in protest after Most Precious Blood Church and the Diocese announced the closure of Most Precious Blood School. 
Photo Jason D. Antos Parents and students gathered in the cold and pouring rain in protest after Most Precious Blood Church and the Diocese announced the closure of Most Precious Blood School. Photo Jason D. Antos Parents at the Most Precious Blood School (MPB) received shocking news this week when it was announced that the school plans to close its doors in June.

In a letter by Most Precious Blood Pastor Rev. William Krlis, parents were informed that the school, which has been in existence for 58 years and teaches students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, plans to close due to financial reasons and a drop in enrollment.

Parents and students, however, are rallying to save their beloved school, saying that the claims made by the parish as to why MPB must be closed are false. An online petition has already collected more than 1,000 signatures as families officially launched their crusade this week to save the school.

According to the letter posted online by Krlis, the school and church are in need of costly repairs. Currently, structural repairs needed in MPB School and church have been estimated together at $5.5 million. The school alone needs repairs estimated at $2.55 million.

“We do not have the funds to complete this work,” said Krlis.

And so the decision has been made to close the school in favor of saving the church.

Parents are outraged.

“The school has been operating in the black for over seven years,” said Lissette Paz, who has two young sons at the school.

According to parents and staff, new Smart Boards were recently installed in all the classrooms and more than a dozen new computers were recently purchased.

Parents also said money was set aside for roof repairs.

Krlis has also stated that current enrollment in the school was 191 students. Paz said that this is a false representation and the reverend did not count the Pre-K and nursery classes, which would bring the total up to more than 300 students.

In the letter, Krlis states that within the last six months, the south wall of the church building has begun to separate and has been patched up until further repairs can be made.

“These essential building repairs, combined with declining enrollment, will not allow us to continue,” said Krlis. “This decision was not made easily. After much dialogue with all relevant parties, including officials from the Diocese of Brooklyn and local Catholic schools, as well as consulting with engineering firms regarding the state of these necessary repairs, I presented these facts to the Most Reverend Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn. With his support, I made this painful decision in the best interest of the parish community.”

Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn Dr. Thomas Chadzutko said that Catholic schools in neighboring parishes will have seats to accommodate students, and information on Open Houses will be made available in the coming days.

Former Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. posted on his Facebook page, “Most Precious Blood School is slated to be closed despite [the] fact it is profitable? If the church will close a profitable, wellloved and attended school for a quick influx of money for [the] sale of property, that sends a terrible message to Catholic schools everywhere that they can be closed at any time. I will be personally calling the Diocese on this.”

In addition to launching a campaign on social media, alumni and parents have sent letters to the diocese requesting the school’s financial information.

Parents have also pointed out that there was no prior warning that the school will be closed and insisted that had they known, there would have been efforts to organize a fundraiser.

“He (Krlis) is leveraging the closure of the school to fix the church’s financial problems,” said Paz.

A meeting will take place at Most Precious Blood School tonight, at 7 p.m. in the school auditorium, where the pastor will address the situation. Members of the community are imploring DiMarzio to attend in an effort to save the school.

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