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What is the future of Catholic Schools in WNY?

Posted at 6:46 PM, Mar 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-30 18:52:00-04

The Superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Buffalo says despite the recent closure of a Cheektowaga Catholic school, there is a plan in place to increase enrollment at nearly 35 local Catholic Schools.

Sister Carol Cimino tells 7 Eyewitness News, the recent decision to close Mary Queen of Angels was data driven.

“It was a decision made by the board of trustees of the school.” Cimino says.

“They went and asked the Bishop for permission and recommendation.”

The Superintendent says despite losing between 600-700 students at nearly 35 elementary schools since 2010, there are active plans to recruit new students.

Using money obtained through a grant, local the Diocese of Buffalo was able to hire a consultant to work with each school individually to develop a plan on marketing.

Cimino says some schools are already reporting a growth in the student body.

St. Benedict School in Amherst experienced a 16% increase since 2015. The school is also expecting to have two full kindergarten classes and possibly 5 sections of pre-k for the 2017-2018 school year.

“We are getting students surprisingly not from the Buffalo Public School as much as we are the suburban schools,” Principal Michael LaFever says.

But the superintendent says the Diocese is facing competition from several factors including people leaving Erie county, the rising cost of tuition and the presence of charter schools.