Valhalla's Holy Name Of Jesus School Faces Possible Closure

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Tracy Bruno, of Yorktown, poses with her son Michael, who is a student at Holy Name of Jesus School in Valhalla. Photo Credit: Robert Michelin

VALHALLA, N.Y. — The Holy Name of Jesus School in Valhalla is facing the possibility that its doors may close for good this June, putting its future in doubt for the second time in two years.

"I really didn't see it coming, because so many of the parents here are so great about volunteering and holding fundraisers," said Jennifer Doherty, a Mount Pleasant resident who has a child in prekindergarten. "It's a really great community."

Earlier this week, the Archidosese of New York announced that Holy Name of Jesus School was one of 26 Catholic schools "at-risk" for shutting down in June.  Four other schools in Westchester were named, including St. Casimir School in Yonkers, Our Lady of Fatima School in Scarsdale,  St. Theresa School in Briarcliff Manor and Our Lady of the Assumption School in Peekskill.

A local board and reconfiguration committee in Westchester County analyzed schools on their sustainability by factoring in tuition and enrollment as well as academic and local demographics. 

Multiple messages requesting comment from a representative at Holy Name of Jesus were not returned. The school enrolls students in prekindergarten through eighth grade. Tuition varies by grade and whether the family is a member of the parish but averages about $6,000 a year per student.

Tracy Bruno, of Yorktown, said she knew this possibility was on the horizon.

"When my older child was in pre-k here, they went through the same thing," Bruno said, who currently has a child in prekindergarten. "So I figured they might have been on borrowed time."

Holy Name of Jesus School went through the same process in 2010 but stayed open. 

The next step will be for the school to present information on its long-term financial sustainability to archdiocese board members. A final decision will be made in January. 

In 2010, parents organized major fundraisers to help keep the school open, Bruno said. It may be too much to ask for a second time, she said.

"I think it's really sad because it's a great school, and the teachers here do an amazing job," Bruno said. 

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