Parents at St. Benedict School in Eggertsville are seeking answers after being notified that the school's principal, Molly Halady, will be leaving her job.
Emails obtained by The Buffalo News and a statement posted online by the Rev. Joseph Porpiglia say her dismissal is connected to her unwillingness to sign a contract. The details of that contract have not been made public.
Halady has been principal of the school for three years. In an email to parents, she cited increasing test scores and student population and introducing Mandarin Chinese to the classroom as accomplishments during her tenure.
In the statement posted Thursday online, Porpiglia said Halady plans to "pursue other options." But Halady denied that in an email sent out Friday to the parents of students.
"I am not leaving St. Ben's to pursue 'other options,'?" Halady said in the email.
She elaborated that she did not sign the contract because of a disagreement over certain terms, and added that while attempting to reconcile those concerns, she was told her refusal to sign the contract would result in her dismissal, according to the email.
"My reasons were not for insubordination, but rather out of doing what is best for the staff, students and families of St. Ben's," the email said.
Halady could not be reached to comment.
The Diocese of Buffalo also declined to discuss the issue.
"Since this is a personnel matter, we will not delve into any details. Discussions are continuing in an attempt to resolve the issue," the diocese said in a statement.
Meanwhile, emails on the issue circulated among parents, who expressed concern and surprise at Halady's dismissal. Several parents suggested organizing a protest before the church's three Sunday Masses.
In an email, the diocese, however, urged parents not to protest. In response to the outpouring of concern, Halady and Porpiglia will meet today to discuss the matter, said an email sent by Carol A. Kostyniak, secretary for Catholic Education for the Buffalo Diocese.
"Please do NOT hold your proposed rally and media event at the Masses on Sunday. A rally and media coverage would be very counterproductive at this point in time," the email said.
Several parents reached by email declined to comment.