Shortly after the Trenton Diocese announced that it would be closing Trenton Catholic Academy in June, a group approached the diocese to ask about in re-establishing an independent Catholic school in place of TCA.
The diocese says that after several meetings with representatives of this group, it has indicated its conceptual support of the proposal to open an independent Catholic school where TCA is now located, but distinctly autonomous from the diocese, financially and otherwise.
The group says that the new school, Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy, would continue the mission of providing a Catholic educational experience for the students who currently make up the TCA community, as well as others in the area who might consider enrolling.
Ann Marie Williams-Gray is a spokesperson for the group, and says that it consists of “business professionals, administrators, alumni.”
“The day we were told the school was going to close, we jumped into action immediately to get something together to reopen the school as an independent catholic school. Holy Cross (High School) in Delran did this two and a half years ago. They still operate just like they did before. They just have to pay a lease to have the school now,” she told Community News.
The diocese says that the cost of education students has consistently outpaced tuition and other revenue, requiring diocesan subsidy of more than $20 million over the last 12 years. No other school in the Diocese of Trenton has received such substantial support, according to the diocese. TCA leadership recommended to Bishop David M. O’Connell that the school should close in June because of this issue.
The diocese announced the decision on Jan. 8, and says it has since been assisting the school in winding down operations at the end of the school year.
Trenton Catholic Academy, today a K-12 institution, was founded in 1962 as St. Anthony High School. Monsignor Michael “Iron Mike” McCorristin is seen as the driving force behind the effort to create the new school, and St. Anthony High School was renamed McCorristin High School in 1979. The school mascot is also Iron Mike in McCorristin’s honor.
McCorristin High School merged with several other diocesan schools in 2005, and became a K-12 institution renamed Trenton Catholic Academy.
Diocesan officials have extended a lease agreement for the school facility that they say is significantly below market value. The school will be required to meet all terms of the agreement and is solely responsible for all financial obligations it incurs.
The diocese says the school will also be required to commit to adherence of Catholic doctrine and provide a Christ-centered environment in which students may learn.
According to the diocese’s media release, Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy is a New Jersey, not-for-profit corporation. The group aims to open Trenton Catholic Preparatory Academy for September 2021.