Elma, N.Y. (WIVB) – Two Catholic churches where elementary schools are slated to close have proposed a new school be opened.
The proposal gives new hope to families who belong to St. Vincent de Paul and Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic churches in Elma.
Their elementary schools are among those that the Diocese of Buffalo plans to close at the end of this school year.
News 4 has learned, Bishop Richard Malone is now considering a request that the schools merge into one.
“A couple of weeks ago, a group of representatives from Annunciation and St. Vincent de Paul Schools approached Bishop Malone, and asked if it would be possible for them to take a look at consolidating into one school that would serve that general area,” said Kevin Keenan, diocesan spokesman.
It’s something the parents, principals and priests have been working on since the closings were announced last month.
Annunciation currently has 102 students in grades K through 8; St. Vincent de Paul has 148.
Under their proposal, all those students would move to the St. Vincent school building.
Pre-K would be at Annunciation.
“In most of these situations, the idea that these schools will remain open is providing false hope to the students and to the school families,” Keenan added.
But the families in Elma believe they’re in a unique situation, because the nearest other Catholic schools are out of their 15-mile bussing district.
They say many of those schools have already been flooded with new students, and have no seats left for next year.
“Bishop Malone was very clear, in the conversations that he had with the representatives from those schools, that he was making no guarantee. He simply allowed them to go forward,” Keenan said.