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Parents and pols. look for solutions to keep Catholic school open

PreciousBlood

Jan. 14, 2015 By Michael Florio

A group of parents started a petition earlier this week that aims to stop an Astoria catholic school from closing.

Most Precious Blood School, located at 32-52 37th Street, will be closing at the end of the school year, after being in operation for 58 years, according to a letter released by Reverend William Krlis, the school’s Pastor, on Friday.

Krlis wrote that the school had to close due to the costly repairs needed to maintain both the school and church buildings. The cost was estimated to be $5.5 million–$2.5 million for the school and $3 million for the church.

However, some parents do not agree with Krlis’ decision. Rather, they believe the school is closing to ensure there is enough money to fix the church.

“We want the church to survive, we just don’t want our school to be sacrificed,” said Lissette Paz, a parent and member of the school association.

“If we knew these buildings were in dire need, we would have done something to help, but we were never given this opportunity,” Paz said. “This is the first talk about the problems in these buildings.”

She said parents want to set up fundraisers to save both buildings, an opportunity they have not been given.

Paz also said that she wants the school to become an academy, which would separate it from the church.

One of the parents, Jennifer Masterson, who has two children at the school, started a petition on change.org to save the school earlier this week. The petition has already generated more than 2,400 signatures.

The parents, however, are not alone in their fight to keep the school open.

Councilman Costa Constantinides, State Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas wrote a joint letter Wednesday, urging the Diocese of Brooklyn to “reexamine the issue and consider any and all alternatives.”

“The outpouring of support from the community and the fear parents are now experiencing over the planned closure of the Most Precious Blood School demonstrate just how much this institution means to our neighbors,” Gianaris said in a statement.

“My office stands with our community and hope that this decision can be changed,” Constantinides added.

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Matthew Baker

When Father Krlis was asked why he didn’t approach alumni who may have been willing to offer pro bono labor, or organizations like the Art Deco Society of New York, who have a vested interest in buildings like the Most Precious Blood Church, he responded that he never knew they existed. This is why we now call him Father Careless.

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