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Plan In Place For Assumption Students If Peekskill School Closes

Students and teachers at Peekskill's Assumption School would be transferred to another school if the school closes this spring.
Students and teachers at Peekskill's Assumption School would be transferred to another school if the school closes this spring. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – If Peekskill's Assumption School is forced to close this June, the Archdiocese of New York said it will work to help place students and staff elsewhere.

Assumption is among dozens of schools in lower New York state being considered for closure by the Archdiocese. But Archdiocese spokesperson Fran Davies said students would have a place at another nearby school.

"Part of the in-depth evaluation that was done for all of the schools in the Archdiocese took into account that there were other options for these children," Davies said. "Zip codes were analyzed from where children came from to go to every school and whether there were other schools in the vicinity."

Busing is available through public schools for up to a 15-mile radius in Westchester County, Davies said. That would allow students to attend other Catholic schools in Cortlandt and Ossining.

Assumption teachers and other staff would also be relocated, Davies said.

"There is a clear process with the teacher's union for rehiring teachers at other schools based on tenure and what is in their contract," she said.

The school has had about 200 students for grades kindergarten through eighth in most recent years, with a high of 230 students in the 2009-10 school year, according to Davies.

The Archdiocese will announce what schools will be closed in the third week of January. Placement counselors will be brought in to the closing schools to work with each family to find another Catholic school to attend.

"Our goal is to have a desk for every child who wants one in a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of New York," Davies said.

Parents picking up children from the school Thursday said they hoped they would not have to think about transferring their children. Jonathan Diaz of Cortlandt said his son is in the pre-kindergarten program at Assumption and would likely send him to the Hendrick Hudson district if the school closed.

"It's an inconvenience for my son and I'm going to have start looking around for another school and most of the schools don't have pre-k," Diaz said.

Other parents said they would miss what a Catholic school offered if they had to send their child to public schools.

"I hope they don't close – this is the best school in Peekskill," said Biny Lemus of Peekskill, a parent of a second-grader. "Everything is strict. They learn about God and they have the best teachers."

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