St. Brendan's Catholic School, Clifton, N.J.

Catholic school in Clifton, N.J., will close after 73 years

June 6, 2019
St. Brendan Catholic School will merge with Academy of St. James in Totowa, N.J.

St. Brendan Catholic School in Clifton, N.J., which first opened its doors in 1946, will close for good at the end of the academic year.

The North Jersey Record reports that the Diocese of Paterson announced that the school will close and merge with the Academy of St. James in Totowa beginning in the fall.

St. Brendan's students – 182 this year – will have the opportunity to join the 192 who attend St. James, which will be renamed The Academy of St. James and St. Brendan, says Mary Baier, superintendent of the diocese schools.

St. James parents were angry over the timing of the announcement, saying they were told at the last minute and did not have a chance to respond. 

The parents were notified of the merger last week, diocese communications Director Rich Sokerka says. On Sunday, they met with diocese officials and were told that the merger "was a done deal."

It's not clear how many of the students from St. Brendan will transfer to the Totowa school.

Diocese officials didn't provide specifics in regard to enrollment, but St. James parents say they have been told the reconfigured school will be able to enroll 225 students. 

St. James parents, however, expressed concern that a few of the grades are near capacity.

Diocese officials argue that the merging of schools makes the most sense economically.

Parents are gathering a petition to ask Bishop Arthur Serratelli to override the decision. Some parents say they will consider other options if the diocese fails to respond. 

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