BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Buffalo Catholic Diocese has released its new enrollment numbers. At the end of the last school year ten elementary schools closed, forcing many students to find new schools.
On Friday the diocese revealed that enrollment has dropped 15% over the past five years. There were 12,078 students in Catholic elementary schools during the 2010-2011 school year. This year they have 10,264.
The figures show that even with the recent consolidation the head count decreased by 588 students this school year.
The Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Sister Carol Cimino said the diocese is working to ensure its schools remain financially stable.
“The enrollment numbers were surprisingly good” said Cimino. “When we closed the ten schools we displaced a little more than one thousand kids. We retained 818 of them”.
Queen of Heaven School in West Seneca saw the largest jump in students this year. It added 214 students, bringing the total enrollment to 397.
The principal said it’s been a tough adjustment for some parents and students, but overall it’s been positive.
Sister Cimino agrees that the students have been resilient. “I have to say in talking with the principals who accepted a lot of these kids; those principals are very excited because of how well so many of those kids have adjusted”.
But even with the new start this year, some parents still adamantly want their old schools to reopen.
“I just wake up every morning and see my kids in uniforms that I don’t feel like they belong in” said Eirene Choroser.
Choroser said she looked for weeks trying to find the best school for her kids after St. Bernadette’s in Orchard Park closed.
After the Buffalo Catholic Diocese announced it was closing ten elementary schools last year, she said she was scrambling looking for the right school with the best curriculum, teachers and culture.
Choroser ultimately landed on Southtowns Catholic School for three of her five little ones.
“I can’t say anything negative at all about the people at the school they have been very welcoming, but it’s just not where I belong”.
Choroser said she wants Bishop Richard Malone to meet with the parents to flesh out any outstanding issues they have.
News 4 asked Sister Cimino whether that could take place in the future; she said if parents want to speak with her, they can contact her anytime.