Declining enrollment and significant financial challenges have resulted in decisions to close Holy Family School in LeRoy and Catholic Academy of the Holy Family in Jamestown.
Despite valiant efforts in both communities, the schools were not able to meet benchmarks that were set to keep both operating.
In LeRoy, Holy Family School needed to register 120 K-8 students and raise $125,000 by the June 1 deadline. 100 students are registered and $110,000 was raised. Last December, Bishop Edward U. Kmiec agreed to give the community time to rally around the school in an effort to keep it open. The benchmarks were agreed on by the Holy Family School Board of Trustees, local leadership and the diocese.
Holy Family School in LeRoy has a K-8 enrollment of 100 students. This marks a decline of 39 percent, or 63 students, in total enrollment since 2003.
In Jamestown, a March 9 resolution signed by the entire Catholic Academy of the Holy Family Board of Trustees stated that if K-8 enrollment for the 2012-13 school year was less than 100 as of May 15, and if sufficient funding for continued operation of the school was not in place, the school would not open this September. Only 63 students are registered for the coming school year.
Catholic Academy of the Holy Family students will continue their faith formation and religious education studies in their home parishes in and around Jamestown. Current K-8 enrollment in the school, which dates back to the 1870s, is 54 students. There are four students in fifth grade, one seventh-grader and just two students will graduate from the school this month. Ten years ago, total enrollment at the school was 167, 68 percent, or 113 students, more than the current enrollment.
Both schools are currently operating with significant subsidies from the diocese.
"These communities worked very hard to keep the schools open, viable and sustainable," said Dr. Rosemary Henry, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese, "but very low enrollment and financial challenges may not only compromise the socialization and educational environment for students but may also impact the ability to meet payroll and other important expenses. We are all grateful for the energy, dedication and effort by the Jamestown and LeRoy communities."
Current PreK (4)-7 students enrolled at both schools will receive a one-time $500 tuition credit from the diocese that can be applied to any Catholic elementary school in the Diocese of Buffalo for the 2012-13 school year. In addition, funds have been set aside to operate a bus from LeRoy to St. Joseph School in Batavia, which will welcome Holy Family students.
Holy Family School has 14 full- and part-time employees. Catholic Academy of the Holy Family School has 15 full- and part-time employees. The diocesan departments of Catholic Schools and Human Resources will work with faculty members at both schools to assist them with possible placement in other Catholic schools.
About Buffalo Catholic Schools:
The Catholic Schools (http://www.wnycatholicschools.com) in the Diocese of Buffalo are Christ-centered private schools that are focused on nurturing academic excellence, Christian character and service to others. The mission of Catholic schools of the Diocese of Buffalo is to educate individuals to reach their full potential in an atmosphere rooted in Catholic tradition and Gospel values. Buffalo Catholic schools are considered among the best private schools in Western New York.