Two South Buffalo Catholic elementary Schools will shut their doors because of lower enrollment. Hundreds of students will now attend Notre Dame Academy as part of the meger. YNN's Natalia Martinez reports board officials say the move was not only to save money, but to strengthen their programs.
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The number of students in South Buffalo Catholic Schools has dropped by 70 percent in the last ten years, down to 601 students.
"The challenges are many. You know, the economy is not the greatest in Western New York," Sister Joan Sherry said. She is the Chairwoman for the South Buffalo School Board.
This is the last year of classes at Ambrose and Trinity Academies, with a total of 266 students in Pre-k through 8th grade. They will join 344 others at Notre Dame Academy which features a newly remodeled science lab and state of the art technology. The merger will also make room for 30 sports programs.
"We need to do this in order to have Catholic education in South Buffalo," Sister Sherry told YNN.
Yearly tuition ranges from $2,000 to $4,500 a year per child. The consolidation plans were announced to parents Thursday night. The merger is expected to significantly cut operating costs.
"I don't worry, I think there's always going to be a Catholic school in South Buffalo," Sister Sherry said.
30 part and full time teachers work at Ambrose and Trinity. Board members will soon decide whether they will continue to have a job.
"It's very hard. It's hard for the board to make that decision. It was very difficult for the teachers to hear this," Sister Sherry commented.
In 2004, several other South Buffalo Catholic Schools consolidated. Some buildings were sold by their parishes and others put to new uses.
This announcement comes just before Catholic Schools Week, a time the Diocese uses to promote it's programs and boost registration.