Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

St. Francis School in Wanaque to Close in June

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

St. Francis School in Wanaque to Close in June

Article excerpt

WANAQUE -- After 102 years, St. Francis of Assisi School on Father Hayes Drive in Haskell will not reopen in September, with church leaders citing declining enrollment and financial issues.

A parish school in Ringwood, St. Catherine of Bologna, is inviting the displaced pupils to enroll there.

The Rev. David Pickens, pastor of St. Francis Parish, announced the closing at a May 8 meeting attended by nearly 100 people.

The next day, Principal Judith Moran sent a letter to parents that also was posted on the school's website and cited "a great struggle to acquire additional students for the school. This causes a tremendous debt on the church."

Also on that date, Moran and Pickens met with all of the school's students "in the hopes of calming their fears and to let them know that we will be here to support them," Moran said.

The principal asked parents to help make the children feel safe and secure by staying positive about the closure on social media, despite the fact that they will all have to find new schools by the fall.

The letter also said that the Rev. Peter Glabik from St. Catherine of Bologna in Ringwood has offered to transition any students from St. Francis to the school in his parish. Glabik was in attendance at the May 8 meeting and led the audience in prayer following the closure announcement.

St. Francis Parish is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, led by Bishop Arthur Serratelli. In response to an interview request, diocese Director of Communications Richard Sokerka issued a written statement about the school's June 19 closing.

It said the financial and enrollment situations at the school were considered "dire with little chance of rapid reversal." Enrollment for the 2013-14 school year comprised 137 students in prekindergarten through Grade 8, with 27 in the school's two preschool classes for children ages 3 and 4. …

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