As a result of continued enrollment reductions, growing financial challenges and a significant reduction in Diocesan support, Niagara Catholic High School on 66th Street, will close its doors, effective immediately.
The decision was made by the Governing Board of Trustees of Niagara Catholic Junior Senior High School following a rigorous analysis of the school's current cash flow and Fall 2018 Enrollment projections. Parents, faculty and key stakeholders were notified prior to making the public announcement. The board and administration are assisting students and their families with transfer procedures to other Catholic schools to ensure that the transition is as seamless as possible.
"We have made every effort to consider the impact of our decision on all of our constituent members: faculty, administration, and most importantly our customers - the parents who sacrifice to provide a Catholic education for their children - during our deliberations," said Judi Nolan Powell, Chair of the Governing Board of Niagara Catholic, a post she has held for a decade. "We are heartbroken to have come to this decision but recognize that it is, in the long term, in the best interests of our families. To "limp along financially" in the hopes that either finances will improve or enrollment will increase does not do justice to the financial sacrifices that our families make to provide a Catholic education for their children. We will continue to provide support until every one of our current 121 students has completed the transition to a new school." Those options include area Catholic grade schools for our 7th and 8th grade students and other Catholic high schools such as Cardinal O'Hara or Buffalo area Catholic high schools."
The decision is bittersweet, as 2018 marks the 90th Anniversary of Catholic High School education in Niagara Falls. St. Mary's High School, the original institution, was established in 1928, with Bishop Duffy, Madonna and finally Niagara Catholic following as successors to the Catholic high school tradition. Principal / President Robert Cluckey described the decision as "a very sad but realistic one, given the economics and stark realities of financial factors and enrollment trends in Niagara County." Ironically, this year marks the expansion of BISON Fund support from only K-8th grade to High School Student financial aid.
Sr. Carol Cimino, retiring superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Buffalo, is providing on-going counsel to the board during the transition this summer.
Special Open Houses will be scheduled at the school to provide parents the opportunity to arrange tours with alternative schools, talk to faculty and administration about academic programming and financial aid packages available. The BISON Scholarship Fund support will continue to provide tuition assistance for those students who transfer to another private school. Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls will be adding a 7th and 8th grade class this fall to help accommodate those displaced students at Niagara Catholic who may now wish to attend Catholic Academy.
For more information on Niagara Catholic High School, visithttp://www.niagaracatholic.org.