Tonawanda News

Local News

January 17, 2014

EMOTIONAL RESPONSE

Staff, parents angered by St. Francis of Assisi School closure

Tonawanda News — Shocked. Devastated. Stunned. Blindsided.

As the events of Wednesday settled into reality for thousands of families throughout Western New York, those are words the people associated with St. Francis of Assisi School in the City of Tonawanda used to describe their reaction to the news the last Catholic elementary school in the Twin Cities will close at the end of the school year.

“We were shocked,” St. Francis Principal Colleen Politowski said during an interview Thursday at her office. “We really didn’t believe we were going to close.

“We’ve increased enrollment for the past 10 years. This is in the face of demographics going down in this area.”

St. Francis, with 186 students in prekindergarten through eighth grade, is the largest of 10 schools slated by the Buffalo Catholic Diocese to close at the end of the school year. Politowski said the school just had two new students register for prekindergarten and two tours for prospective students scheduled for today.

“We were doing really well with enrollment,” she said. “We really were.”

Louise Lopardi, who has more than 20 years of experience at the since-closed St. Paul’s School in Kenmore and has filled a number of roles at St. Francis over the past seven years, was one of a number of people who used the word “blindsided” to describe her reaction.

“(Before the announcement) I’ve walked around the building talking to teachers, saying ‘Oh, it’s going to be all right.’ And it’s not all right,” she said. “I’ve seen this school grow and blossom. We’ve had a lot of families come here who probably couldn’t afford another Catholic education. This is a home for them. And the parish embraces the school.

“I’ve been in Catholic education for 45 years. Schools with a lot fewer students than we have remain open. Schools that don’t have programs we have.”

Text Only
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Facebook
Front page
NDN Video
Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage