Geneva Catholic school will no longer offer 7th, 8th grades - Catholic Courier
The front of a school building.

(Courier file photo)

Geneva Catholic school will no longer offer 7th, 8th grades

St. Francis-St. Stephen School in Geneva will no longer offer seventh and eighth grades after the 2023-24 school year.

The school had been the last parish-sponsored school in the Diocese of Rochester to offer seventh and eighth grades, but last November, the diocesan school board recommended that the school close its junior high at the end of the current school year, according to Father Thomas Mull, pastor of Geneva’s Our Lady of Peace Parish.

The decision was not completely unexpected, Father Mull noted, as in recent years he’d watched neighboring Catholic schools close their own junior highs one by one. He said Principal Suzanne Pohorence has increased the school’s enrollment since coming to the school in 2022, but enrollment in the seventh and eighth grades remained relatively low.

The recommendation to eliminate the seventh and eighth grades was made due to low numbers in those classes as well as “the cost of providing the number of teachers necessary for a full New York state-approved junior-high education,” Father Mull wrote in Our Lady of Peace’s Dec. 17 bulletin.

Although those two grades had suffered from low enrollment, in all other ways the school is thriving, Father Mull noted.

“For those who wonder if we are planning to later close the whole school, my answer is a resounding, ‘No,’” Father Mull asserted in his bulletin column.

The biggest threat to the school’s continued existence would be if parents chose to withdraw their children, he continued. Without children enrolled in the school’s lower grades, there would be no school, he wrote, urging parents to continue to show their support for the school.

“We are not in a bad financial situation. We have money,” Father Mull wrote. “We don’t have enough children in junior high, but we do in the other grades if you remain with the school and parents continue to share their children with us.”

Tags: Catholic Schools, Ontario County News
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