Tonawanda News

Local News

January 22, 2014

St. Francis gears up for fight

BACKLASH: Petition sent to bishop, meeting planned for Thursday at school.

(Continued)

Tonawanda News —

Saltarelli, an attorney and former judge, has also sent two previous letters to the diocese since the Jan. 15 announcement, requesting a meeting to discuss the criteria used to justify the school’s closure and criticizing the decision to close.

“I have not heard a word from the chancery downtown, from anyone,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “I hope they are at least considering the information we are providing them, as well as considering the other community support groups that are sending information to them.”

Contacted Tuesday, a diocese representative had no comment.

“We just received the petition and we are not issuing a statement at this time,” said Kristina M. Connell, communications manager for the diocese.

Carlson, who is also on the endowment board with Saltarelli and Warren, said the group wants to see the numbers that were used to justify the school’s closure.

“We question the data that was used. The little bits and pieces that we are privy to don’t add up in our minds,” she said. “We’d just like verification of the data.”

Carlson, a member of the parish for about 40 years, has served on many committees there over the years. She said the community’s love of the school has been beyond words.

“In the meantime, we’re still going to promote the school,” she said. “It’s not going to pass away quietly.”

The school is going forward with a meeting at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, called by the Rev. Mike Uebler of St. Francis parish, according to Saltarelli. In addition to local community members, Saltarelli said he expects parents from other schools affected by the decision to attend as well.

“We are going to proceed to register children for the upcoming school year,” he said. “I’m encouraging the parents and the administration to continue business at St. Francis as usual. ... We have to register children; if we don’t register children, that’s it.”

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