Teachers were informed on Wednesday afternoon and parents were told this evening that Mary Queen of Angels School in Cheektowaga will be closing at the end of this school year. The difficult decision was made by the school's Board of Trustees, a board of limited jurisdiction, which asked Bishop Richard J. Malone's permission to close the school.
The decision comes down to the issue of declining enrollment. The Catholic school currently averages only 11 students per grade from kindergarten through eighth grade. As of this date, only about half of the current students were registered to come back next year.
Over the past five years, the student population at Mary Queen of Angels fell from 164 students to its current number of 103. There has also been a steady decline in the overall population of school-aged children in the surrounding Cheektowaga neighborhood.
"This was a very difficult decision for the Board of Trustees, but I trust their conclusion that the school could not reopen in the fall and remain financially viable through another year," said Bishop Malone. "We will work closely with the parents to make sure that a Catholic education remains available to all of these students."
Sister Carol Cimino, SSJ, superintendent of Catholic schools, noted that tuition assistance continues to be made available through generous scholarship programs like the BISON Fund. Free student bus transportation is available to other nearby Catholic schools including the following which are located within seven miles of Mary Queen of Angels School:
Mary Queen of Angels School was founded under its original name, Queen of Martyrs School, in 1947. The faculty at the time consisted of 16 Felician Sisters and one lay teacher. The school currently has 31 lay faculty and staff. "We thank them for their selfless service in furthering a Catholic education," said Sister Carol, who notes that they will be offered assistance through this difficult transition.
For more information on the other 34 elementary schools in the Diocese of Buffalo, visit https://www.wnycatholicschools.org/