CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — When the students inside of Mary Queen of Angels leave at the end of the school year and the doors close behind them, they’ll be closing for good.
“There was no way to be able to open the school- not just money wise but academics,” said Sister Carol Cimino, the superintendent for the Buffalo Catholic Schools.
The school is closing after 70 years because the enrollment numbers are declining. Only 69 students are on class rosters for next year, dropping from the 103 students who are currently attending the school.
“Parents are getting more and more desperate trying to afford a Catholic education for their children,” said Sister Carol.
She says tuition ranges from $3500 to $5000 per child each year while the cost to educate each child is about $6000 to $8000 each year. While the cost per student on the school is more than it costs to send them there, it is still significantly less than the price per child at a public school which is around $20,000 each year.
“As Catholic schools close, the tax burden will grow more and more. We are saving taxpayers money and they should care.”
The superintendent says for years Catholic school teachers and administrators have been lobbying to lawmakers to provide tax credits for families who want their children to have a Catholic education as they feel it’ll help keep more students in the desks at Diocesan schools.
Mary Queen of angels opened in the 1940s, providing a parochial education for thousands of students throughout the years. For the hundred remaining enrolled, these last few months will be filled with the same traditions which those who came before them participated in. The sister feels, this time, for these students, those traditions will mean a little more as they’re the last group that will be experiencing them inside of this school.
“A Catholic school education is more of an experience. At the end you say ‘I can’t explain it; you had to be there.'”
And Sister Carol says that’s what makes it even harder to decide to have to close down one of the schools.
“There’s something about it- there’s a family atmosphere there, there’s deeper spirituality that goes on there so it’s very sad.”