Principals of Catholic schools and priests from all the parishes in the greater Niagara Falls area were called to a meeting today to discuss declining enrollment and rising costs in the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grades.
Bishop Edward D. Head of the Buffalo Catholic Diocese and Superintendent of Catholic Schools Ronald J. Cook scheduled the closed-door meeting at Niagara University to examine enrollment trends and costs and to begin discussing possible solutions.
Monsignor David M. Lee, diocesan director of communications, stressed that there are no plans to close any schools in the Falls area.
He said the idea was "to sit down and examine the specific problem with the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grades and to look for ways to solve that problem," he said. "It is simply bringing people together to talk about where we go from here."
Although enrollment in the three grades has increased in some of the six elementary schools involved, it has decreased significantly in others, Monsignor Lee said. In schools where the enrollment has declined, he said, the per-pupil educational cost has increased sharply because the same staffing and facilities are needed to teach required subject matter regardless of how many students may be in a specific grade.
Besides Niagara Falls, the discussion will consider Niagara Catholic High School and St. Peter's School in Lewiston.