NEW YORK -- A strategic plan for the elementary schools of the New York archdiocese will close underperforming schools to reduce growing deficits, channel funds from the sale or rental of shuttered properties to an education fund and replace the traditional parish governance model with a regional structure.
The three-year plan, named "Pathways to Excellence," was released Oct. 5.
"We like the analogy of the biblical vine grower," Timothy J. McNiff, archdiocesan superintendent of schools, told Catholic News Service. "When you prune a tree, you're prepared for growth."
McNiff said the short-term target is to reduce by half the subsidies the archdiocese gives to struggling schools. "We can only sustain deficit spending for so long," he said.
In 2009, the archdiocese spent $30 million to support needy parishes and schools.
More than 56,000 students are educated in 188 parish and archdiocesan elementary schools throughout 10 counties. Private Catholic schools enroll another 4,800 students. The archdiocese includes Manhattan, Staten Island, Bronx and seven counties north and west of New York.