Update, 6:30 p.m.: The parents, teachers and staff members at the Assumption School banded together, prayed and worked collectively to come up with a way to keep their school open.
But the financial burden, $3 million in the next three years, was just too much to overcome.
"That's not bake sales and car washes, that's Powerball," Father John Higgins of the Church of the Assumption said.
Higgins said the plan is to help students make it through the year despite the obvious distractions they'll face.
"Our goal is to make the remaining months for these kids the best possible experience it can be for them," Higgins said.
Of the 26 schools listed as at-risk, 22 are slated to closed at the end of the school year. The four remaining schools were given submitted proposals that included viable long-term plans and will remain open.
The last time the Archdiocese of New York decided to reconfigure its schools in 2010-2011, it managed to relocate 64 percent of its students to another school, according to Fran Davies, associate superintendent for communications and marketing for the Archdiocese.
Affected families will be allowed to transition into nearby school districts. Nearby options for Assumption School students include St. Augustine's School in Ossining; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School in Shrub Oak; St. Patrick's School in Yorktown; and St. Columbanus School in Cortandt Manor.
Student placement counselors will work with regional superintendents to help school families transition into another Catholic school for next year, according to a release sent by the Archdiocese of New York. Informational meetings for affected families will be announced in the coming weeks.
Still, there are other issues to consider, such as busing.
"We both work," said one shocked mother as she picked her child up from school. "We live in Peekskill and are homeowners. We pay taxes… I'm very surprised."
Davies said all teachers who are tenured will be placed a priority hiring list based on seniority, as stipulated in the teacher's current collective bargaining unit.
Other Catholic elementary schools that are slated to close in June include Holy Name of Jesus in Valhalla, Our Lady of Fatima in Scarsdale, St. Casimir in Yonkers and St. Theresa in Briarcliff Manor.
In addition to the elementary schools, the Archdiocese announced that Blessed Sacrament/St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle is one of the two secondary schools that it plans to close this year.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York, said the following is statement: “The Archdiocese is not alone in facing financial challenges in education—we share these issues with public, private and other faith-based schools across the country. This reconfiguration process will help ensure that our schools will be financially stable, sustainable and, more importantly, open to all students. We are dedicated to providing pastoral support and educational guidance to every family personally affected by reconfiguration to ensure all children attending closing schools will be warmly welcomed into a neighboring Catholic school where they will continue to learn and thrive.”
The Assumption School in Peekskill is closing at the end of this school year the Archdiocese of New York announced this afternoon.
Assumption, which has about 200 students, is one of 26 Catholic elementary schools that the Archdiocese announced in November were at risk of closing.
Pastors and principals at Assumption and other at-risk elementary schools met with officials from the Archdiocese earlier this month to make a case for why the school should remain open. In the end, it wasn't enough.
In a letter sent out parents earlier today, Father John Higgins of the Church of the Assumption said the school had to demonstrate the ability to stay financially solvent during the next three years in order to continue operating.
"In terms of dollars, that means $3 million over the next three years," Higgins wrote. "Though there were many beautiful gestures to help, symbolic donations made and ideas proposed, $3 million dollars is a financial hurdle that is impossible for us to surmount."
Check back for more on this story as it becomes available.