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Big decisions pending as Catholic school merger moves forward

BAY RIDGE — In the wake of the blockbuster announcement that Saint Anselm Catholic Academy and Holy Angels Catholic Academy will merge into a single school, work has already begun to bring the two venerable education institutions together under one roof.

The new school, to be called Bay Ridge Catholic Academy, is expected to be ready to open in September of 2020. It will be located in the building that currently houses St. Anselm Catholic Academy at 365 83rd St.

Bay Ridge Catholic Academy will start off with an endowment of more than $1 million, according to a letter sent to parents by the board of directors at St. Anselm Catholic Academy.

The new school will charge $4,900 tuition per student per year. Students coming from St. Anselm and Holy Angels will each receive a $500 grant from the Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust for the next three years to be used toward tuition, the St. Anselm board told parents.

The choice of St. Anselm, rather than Holy Angels at 337 74th St., for the location of the new school was made out of necessity, according to Mike Long, chairperson of the Holy Angels Board of Directors. “Holy Angels would have needed a lot more repair work,” he told the Home Reporter.

Big decisions will have to be made as the merger moves forward.

For one thing, a new board of directors will have to be formed to oversee Bay Ridge Catholic Academy. In addition, a principal will have to be hired.

Parents will be consulted every step of the way, said John Quaglione, chairperson of the board at St. Anselm Catholic Academy. “We’re going to be involving the parents,” he said.

Once the merger is complete, St. Anselm Catholic Academy and Holy Angels Catholic Academy will cease to exist. Both schools will close to make way for Bay Ridge Catholic Academy. The school has already set up a website, www.BayRidgeCatholic.org.

The new school will focus on religious education, as well as science, engineering, art and music, Quaglione said. “We will have a superior level of programming. We will also establish partnerships with institutions like Fordham University. Our goal is to provide the best education to prepare our students for jobs in the 21st century economy,” he said.

As the two schools get set to become one entity, the shockwaves from the merger announcement are still reverberating throughout Bay Ridge’s Catholic community.

Officials at both St. Anselm and Holy Angels said they believed a merger is the best way forward in an era when Catholic schools are struggling to keep their doors open amid higher costs and student enrollment projections that are trending downward.

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