Mount Saint Joseph Academy To Close

September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 3, 2010 at 8:12 AM EDT

By WKBW Programming

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September 27, 2013 Updated Jun 3, 2010 at 8:12 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) -- One of Buffalo's best private schools, with a history more than a hundred years old, is closing at the end of June.

Mount Saint Joseph Academy came back from adversity once, but this time, school trustees say there is too much to overcome. The downturn in the economy has made it impossible for the school to remain open next year. Enrollment slipped from almost 100 to only 37 students committed for the fall.

The Sisters of Saint Joseph ran the school for more than one hundred years, and when they hit hard economic times in 2005, a community group made up of parents took over to keep the school operating.

Despite the closing, parents say they are glad they were able to give the academy five more years. Trustee Steve Boyd says it taught students not to give up and was one of the classic Buffalo comeback stories. The school that offered Pre-K through 8th grade will hold graduation for the last time on June 22nd. More than two dozen teachers will lose their jobs.

Here is background on the school from their official website, www.msja.org

Mount Saint Joseph Academy was founded in 1891 by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The Mount formerly consisted of an elementary school, “The Little Mount” (formerly known as Medaille Elementary School) and a high school. The high school closed in the mid-1980’s. “The Little Mount” continued operations.

Historically, the governing body of the Mount was the Institute of the Sisters of St. Joseph. This group of six Sisters had complete control over the school. In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the school accumulated significant debt. In June of 2005, in a surprise announcement, the Sisters’ announced their intention to sever ties with the Mount after retiring the existing debt. Despite an increasing enrollment, the members of the Institute voted to close Mount St. Joseph Academy.

The Institute’s decision was met with immediate action by a group of tenacious parents, alumni and friends of The Mount. The Committee to Save M.S.J.A. was formed. The first logistical hurdle was to obtain an educational license from New York State. After tireless efforts to complete the necessary paperwork the New York Board of Regents approved the incorporation of the new school in late July 2005.

In the summer of 2007, Mount St. Joseph Academy moved into our current home at the corner of Main and Jewett in the City of Buffalo. The campus consists of a five building complex including the historic former Central Presbyterian Church.

The Mount serves children from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade Eight.

Eyewitness News will have more on the closing of Mount Saint Joseph Academy, including an interview with trustee and attorney Steve Boyd, who spearheaded the effort several years ago to keep the institution open.

Click here to visit the school website.