Up to 15 Roman Catholic schools in the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island could be forced to close, the New York Post reported Wednesday.
The potential move came under a plan that threatens to strip the schools of large financial subsidies from the New York Archdiocese because of plummeting enrollment.
"These under-enrolled schools require significant financial support from the archdiocese, which cannot be sustained indefinitely," said Dr. Timothy McNiff, schools superintendent for the archdiocese, which Tuesday released its list of at-risk schools. "We need to allocate our resources where they can do the most good, and support schools that can sustain themselves over time," said McNiff, whose 185-school system is in the midst of a massive reconfiguration.
The archdiocese said that in addition to the 15 schools in New York City, 17 elementary schools in Westchester and upstate counties also could lose their subsidies.
Enrollment in the 32 schools -- which contain a total of 4,561 students -- dropped an average of 34 percent in the past five years.
Those schools currently receive an average annual subsidy from the archdiocese of $350,000.
"In reality, most of these schools, if not all, would not be able to exist if they don't have a subsidy," said a source familiar with the situation.
The affected schools' principals and pastors soon will be allowed to argue their case to continue receiving subsidies.
After that, in January, Archbishop Timothy Dolan will decide whether to scrap all, some or none of the subsidies.