The following press release was sent by the Archdiocese of Newark to announce the closing of Queen of Peace High School, North Arlington:
Despite a more than year-long effort by faculty, staff and stakeholders to raise funds and set a goal to provide enrollment growth possibilities for the 2016-17 school year, projected enrollment and financial shortfalls for the 2017-18 and future school years continue to present growing challenges to the long-term viability of Queen of Peace High School.
As such, following an exhaustive series of meetings and conversations over the past four months with parish and school leadership and representatives of the Archdiocese of Newark about progress in achieving these goals, it was announced Monday, May 8, that Queen of Peace High School will cease operations as of June 30.
In announcing the decision to students, parents, faculty, administration, board members and alumni, the Rev. Michael Donovan, pastor of Queen of Peace Parish and head of the school, said: “Those of us who have been involved in Queen of Peace High School – members of the Board, the staff and faculty, parents, alumni and other supporters, and the archdiocese – have weathered challenges to find a way to keep this parish high school operating during this current year. However, even with the generosity of so many, and a slight increase in the number of students this year, we remain in a declining situation that cannot be continued without severely harming Queen of Peace Parish. Consequently, it is important for us to look toward the best interests of the students now with us for the remainder of their high school years.”
In the spring of 2016, QP administration, joined by a dedicated and growing group of alumni volunteers, undertook a significant fundraising initiative designed to provide a long-term source of tuition assistance and financial stability for the school. With the support of several key donors who together pledged some $950,000, these efforts yielded more than $1 million and an expected enrollment of 226 – enough to stave off closure at the end of the 2016 school year and provide for an opening in September 2016.
However, QPHS faces a shortfall of more than $1.2 million by the end of June.
This amount can be met only partially through external fundraising efforts this year.
The parish and the archdiocese are not in a financial position to absorb further obligations of the school beyond this current year. In actuality, Queen of Peace High School would require contributions of more than $1.5 million annually for the foreseeable future – a figure that is twice what alumni leadership feels it can raise annually.
“We truly appreciate all of the generosity of the alumni and other supporters of Queen of Peace,” said Fr. Donovan. “But given that the school was facing a number of years of continuing deficits and challenges to gaining enrollment, we could not expect that alumni would provide the same robust support every year.”
He further said that “without the steady and increasing flow of development support, we would not be in a position to guarantee that incoming freshmen in September 2017 would be able to graduate from QP in four years. Without that guarantee, we would be doing a disservice to those children and their families, as well as to students already here at QP.”
In the coming days, school administration and the archdiocesan schools office will work with parents of Queen of Peace students to assist with the transition to other Catholic schools within the Archdiocese.
Current faculty members will be placed on a preferred eligibility list for positions at other archdiocesan schools.