Diocese should reach out to South Buffalo residents

In many ways, Catholic schools in South Buffalo have long served as the center of our community. South Buffalo is one of the rare places where you always identified yourself proudly by the parish and accompanying Catholic elementary school that you attended.

Understandably, it was devastating to find out that two more of our beloved elementary schools, Trinity Catholic Academy and Ambrose Catholic Academy, will be closing. Since 2006, the Diocese of Buffalo has announced the closing of five Catholic elementary schools in South Buffalo. The result has been detrimental. Many of our residents have fled/are fleeing to the suburbs as a result of the school closings.

The meeting that was recently held to announce the consolidation of Notre Dame, Trinity and Ambrose provided little information to parents. As has happened in the past, I fear that this consolidation will negatively impact future enrollment at Mount Mercy Academy and Bishop Timon St. Jude. It is my belief that if these schools close, it will be very difficult to maintain the vibrant neighborhood that is South Buffalo.

I recognize that enrollment has declined and understand it is not financially feasible to maintain six elementary schools in South Buffalo. However, I do not understand why a long-term education plan has not been established by the diocese. My residents feel left in the dark when it comes to education decisions that directly affect their families and their neighborhood.

I believe that Catholic education in South Buffalo can be exceptional, but there needs to be planning in place. Parents, teachers and community leaders need to be included in the planning process. I urge the diocese to reach out to the residents of South Buffalo. It has the opportunity to help rebuild our community. Please don’t let us down.

Christopher P. Scanlon

South District Councilman