A decade after an anonymous angel donated $ 20 million to save St. Brigid's Catholic Church and School in East Village, angry parents want to know what happened to the money for 'education.
Parents were shocked last week when the Archdiocese of New York announced the St. Brigid School would close at the end of the year with four others in the city. The archdiocese said that he simply could not afford to run aging schools with declining enrollments and rising costs.
But that should not have been the case at the East Village Parish, feared the parents, because millions had been set aside for the school.
The community fought for years to save St. Brigid's Church, just across from Tompkins Square Park, after it closed in 2001 due to structural problems.
He was confronted with the plight until the anonymous benefactor advanced in 2008 with enough money to fund his renovation, originally estimated at $ 10 million. An additional $ 8 million was to be an endowment fund for the parish school and others.
The costs for the complete renovation of the church have reached about 15 million dollars.
"There was still a lot of money left," said Edwin Torres, who has formed an organization to save the church.
He said the money was going to the archdiocese and that there should have been at least $ 2 million for the school.
"They did not really show any accounting for that," he said.
Torres said the donor was someone from the neighborhood but that he would not say any more about his identity.
Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the archdiocese, told The Post that there was still money in his endowment – about $ 1.5 million.
But he said that the school loses $ 850,000 a year, a loss that the archdiocese covers.
"It's a sad reality that it's almost impossible to run a school with only 119 students in kindergarten to grade 8," Zwilling said.
The school also has 40 children in a pre-kindergarten program funded by the city.
Matthew Daloisio, a parent of St. Brigid who works to save the school, said the $ 1.5 million was "absolutely a lot of money" and that parents would work to increase enrollment if that kept the doors open.
"Then, with our help, there should be no reason why the school can not stay open," he said.
Already, more than 1,000 people have signed a petition to keep the school open.