Jan 12, 2015 By Michael Florio
An Astoria Catholic school with be closing its doors for good this June.
Most Precious Blood School, located at 32-52 37th Street, will be closing after being open for 58 years, according to a letter sent out Friday by Rev. William Krlis, the school’s pastor.
Krlis, in his letter, wrote that the decision to close was based on the fact that it would cost $5.5 million to repair the school and church. The school building needs $2.55 million in repairs, according to the letter.
“The school needs a new roof, new doors and windows, brickwork and boiler replacement,” said Stefanie Gutierrez, a spokeswoman with the Diocese of Brooklyn, which also oversees Queens.
The church building would cost an estimated $3 million in repairs, to fix the south wall, which has begun to separate. The wall has been temporarily shored up until further repairs could be made.
The church will remain open after the school closes.
Declining enrollment in the school has been an issue in recent times. Currently, there are 191 students enrolled from kindergarten through 8th grade– 20 students lower than last year.
However, many parents were upset when they heard the news.
Lissette Paz, a parent and member of the school association, argued that the school is thriving, and noted that the school has recently bought 18 smart boards and new computers. Furthermore, she said the school is being sacrificed to save the church.
“He [Krlis] is just closing down the school for his purpose to save the church,” she said.
Paz, who has two children in the school, one in pre-k and the other in first grade, is unsure where they will go when the school closes.
“Schools in Astoria are already over populated,” she said. “Kids came into school today crying.”
However, the students from Most Precious Blood School will receive priority when they apply to neighboring Catholic schools, including Saint Josephs Catholic Academy, Saint Francis of Assisi, Immaculate Conception Catholic School and St Sebastian’s School, Gutierrez said.
“All of these schools will hold open houses and all have pledged to accept any families displaced by Most Precious’s closing,” she said. “All of these schools do have space for these children.”
The teachers from Most Precious Blood School will be given priority in Catholic schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn, Gutierrez added.
The school will host a meeting for parents on Wednesday, January 14th, at 7 pm in the school auditorium.
Gutierrez said the church is looking to rent out the school building as soon as possible. These funds will go to toward repairing the church building.
She would not comment if the future tenant would have to repair the school building.
However, Paz said parents have heard rumors that the building will be rented out to the Department of Education, and plans on bringing this topic up at Wednesday’s meeting.
Several Catholic schools have closed in Western Queens in recent years—such as St. Teresa’s in Sunnyside; Corpus Christi School in Woodside; and St. Raphael’s in Long Island City.