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DIOCESE CLOSING DOWN SCHOOL IN HOLLEY SHARP DECLINE IN ENROLLMENT WILL SHUTTER ST. MARY'S ELEMENTARY

St. Mary's Elementary School in the Orleans County Village of Holley will be closed at the end of school this year because of a sharp decline in enrollment, Ronald J. Cook, superintendent of Catholic education for the Diocese of Buffalo, announced Thursday.

Despite the efforts of parish members to attract more pupils, it was projected that only 43 youngsters would be enrolled in September, Cook said. The school had 71 pupils this year.

In a letter to parishioners, the Rev. Charles E. Slisz, St. Mary's pastor, said a recent bequest had ensured the financial stability of the school for another two years.

However, after consulting with the parish council and the diocesan Education Department, it was decided that it was not possible to provide a sound academic program in a school with so few pupils, he said.

Cook said pupils from St. Mary's have been invited to attend any of the three Catholic schools in Batavia, about 20 miles from Holley. A few have already enrolled in St. Joseph's School there, he said.

The closing, Cook said, was "a sad decision to make, but in the end it was the only decision we could make."

"Every effort will be made to see that those who desire it will have their children enrolled in a Catholic school," Father Slisz said.

Cook said that Betty A. Kane, assistant superintendent for personnel, will meet with the staff of St. Mary's to determine if they can be placed at other parochial schools.

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