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CATHOLIC SCHOOL TO REMAIN OPEN

St. Agatha's School in South Buffalo will remain open at least another year, school and parish officials have announced.

"Through the valiant efforts of both parishioners and parents, we have been able to create a budget that is viable, while at the same time creating a new and innovative academic structure," said the letter that the Rev. Adolph Kowalszyk, the church's pastor, and Delores Oakes, the school's principal, sent to parents Thursday.

Fears that the school at 65 Abbott Road might close brought more than 100 parents to an April 14 meeting to map an action plan.

Like other parochial schools, it is subsidized by the parish and is struggling to maintain enrollment.

Kowalszyk said the current enrollment is 108, and 83 pupils have committed for next year. Another 10 are expected to enroll, but have not committed.

Officials hope that will increase with the addition of a prekindergarten next year for children who will be 4 years old by Aug. 1.

From prekindergarten through sixth grade, the school will offer multiple-age, blended education based on the philosophy that every child learns at his or her own pace, the letter said.

The seventh and eighth grades will remain the same.

Kowalszyk said the school's situation mirrors the city's declining population, "so we need to come up with innovative ideas for education."

The school's future, he added, will have to be re-examined each year, and he was not prepared to say what might happen after next year.

South Buffalo has six parochial schools, so the commitment remains strong, he noted.

e-mail: ternst@buffnews.com

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