By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School, which for many years was a leading educational institution in Brooklyn, is closing, school officials announced Monday.
The school, located at 500 19th St. in Park Slope, will close its doors forever in June, upon completion of the current term. The school opened 52 years ago.
The decision to close Bishop Ford was made by the school’s board of directors at an emergency meeting Sunday night, according to Principal Thomas P. Arria Jr., who posted an open letter to parents of students on the school’s website on Monday.
The board of directors voted unanimously to close the school, Arria wrote.
“This decision was not arrived at without serious deliberation,” the principal wrote.
“In its decision, the board of directors cited declining enrollment and a facility in need of repair as the principal reasons for the closing. In recent years, the school population has shrunk dramatically. There has not been a sufficient revenue stream other than tuition, which alone cannot support the operation. Thus, it was determined that, despite Herculean efforts on the part of many people, the school was just not sustainable,” Arria wrote.
Arria, who only arrived at the school in September, sought to assure parents that the school will assist students in finding other Catholic high schools to attend. “We will do our best to assist you in identifying the best alternative to Bishop Ford. We have already been in contact with other area Catholic high schools in an effort to develop a plan that will provide the smoothest possible transition under the circumstances,” he wrote.
Brooklyn Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio issued a statement on the closure of Bishop Ford. “Despite the best efforts and diligent work of the board of directors and faculty of Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School, the school was faced with what became insurmountable challenges. The Diocese of Brooklyn is committed to assisting the board of directors in placing students in the schools of their choice,” the statement read.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn) expressed disappointment that the school is closing.
“For 52 years, Bishop Ford Central High School has served a vital role for the education of students throughout our community,” Golden said.
Golden, who had championed an unsuccessful bill in Albany to allow non-public school parents to receive tax credits to help pay for tuition, said the failure of the State Legislature to pass the measure was “the final straw on this school” and that the Education Investment Tax Credit would have made a difference.