Fight is on to keep St. Francis open

TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – The fight is on at Saint Francis of Assisi in Tonawanda, to keep classes in session. It was one of the 10 elementary schools the Buffalo Catholic Diocese decided to close down last week.

Lawyers affiliated with St. Francis filed a petition with the bishop to stay open and will meet with parents Thursday night.

They say the school has the funds it needs to stay open for several years, and that it is one of few Catholic schools with increased enrollment. The Diocese has defended its decision to close the school.

Parents were stunned when they heard the Catholic Diocese plans to close St. Francis of Assisi. Mark Saltarelli’s whole family went there.

“St. Francis is one of the few schools whose enrollment has increased since 2003,” he said. “We have never been in a better financial position. We have a half million dollars in the endowment fund and that generates $35,000 a year in cash.”

Thursday on Wake Up, Secretary for Catholic Education Carol Kostyniak defended the decision to close St. Francis, and said what her hopes are for that endowment fund.

“We would hope that they would use that to help their students continuing education, so that endowment can follow the student,” she said.

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