BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – Thursday morning, students attending the ten Catholic elementary schools scheduled to close reported to school for the first time since the news broke.
Fourteen Holy Helpers School in West Seneca is one that won’t be open next year. As their students arrived in the morning they were still very upset about the news.
“Well the students are going through a transition and it’s difficult for them right now. There are some tears but we also know that out of the tears is going to come some joy and some happiness and some laughter,” said Mary Jo Aiken, Principal of Fourteen Holy Helpers School.
After school started the students broke out into groups so administrators could address them and their needs.
“The assembly’s purpose is to give the kids an opportunity to share their feelings, share what’s happening, their thoughts their fears (and to) help to reassure them. And we will have a prayer service that we’ll end each of the assembly’s with” said Father David Bellittiere, Pastor of Fourteen Holy Helpers School.
The Buffalo Diocese announced the closing on Wednesday afternoon. They said it will help the diocese save money and bolster education in the ones that stay open.
COMPLETE LIST of Catholic Elementary Schools in the Buffalo Diocese shown below.
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During Wednesday’s announcement, Bishop Richard Malone pointed a finger of blame at New York State.The bishop asked why lawmakers had not passed the Education Investment Tax Credit bill.
It would allow people who donate to any school to deduct those contributions from their income taxes. The bill passed in the Senate in 2011 and 2012, but not in the Assembly.
Assemblywoman Jane Corwin, Assemblyman Michael Kearns and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger support the bill.
“The Bishop’s right had it been law you would not have seen these closings,” said Schimminger, D, Kenmore.
“There’s 150 Assembly Members. There are 76 people that have signed on in support of this. There’s one person stopping this and his name is Sheldon Silver” said Kearns, D, Buffalo.
However Assemblyman Sean Ryan asked his constituents and fellow assembly members to take another look at the bill. Ryan said one of his main concerns is whether the donations will only benefit exclusive schools in New York City because the bill has no income qualifications.