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Let’s use new process to keep schools open

After reading Bishop Richard Malone’s remarks in his March 23 Another Voice, I now understand the old process for closing schools: demographics, school size, baptism rates and paid, outside consultants.

I applaud the bishop’s empowerment vision of a newly formed Buffalo Diocesan Federation of Home-School Associations, a fund-raising group working with the parishes that need help, but why can’t this be started with the 10 schools that want to stay open?

What harm does it do if the parish wants to financially support the school for a year or two while working with the bishop’s new HSA group? It means a few more quality years of Catholic faith education and Gospel values, which the bishop says is his primary focus.

If this new process still can’t financially keep a school open, then closing becomes obvious. Parents affected will know, well before it hits the newspaper, what their options are regarding schools available, tuition cost, busing schedules, etc.

School closings should happen only one or two times every few years at most. It should not be a massive closing of 10 schools decided by some outside consulting group. There probably are a few schools out of the 10 that may need to be closed, but not 10 – and certainly not Elma’s two schools after the diocese rejected our merger plan.

The bishop is aware that 99 percent of all Catholic middle school students graduate from high school and 98 percent go onto college. That figure is only 66 percent for public school students. Does this count for anything in the evaluation process?

Many of the 400 students still looking for a new Catholic school will end up in public schools due to busing problems, hardship issues, etc.

John Lupienski

Elma