Schools plan consolidation - Catholic Courier

Schools plan consolidation

After 120 years of Catholic education in Wayland, St. Joseph’s School
is due to close in June 2004 as part of a consolidation process.

St. Joseph’s is one of two parish-based schools in the Holy Family
Catholic Community cluster; the other school is St. Mary’s, Dansville.
In a unanimous vote on Dec. 9, the 12-member Holy Family Parish
pastoral council opted to merge St. Joseph’s and St. Mary’s into one
facility — at the current St. Mary’s building — for grades
pre-kindergarten through 6. The combined school will open in the fall
of 2004 as Holy Family Catholic School.

The decision follows several years of discussion on how to
restructure the two schools, which have experienced declining
enrollment and are among the smallest in the Rochester Diocese.
According to statistics provided by the diocesan Department of Catholic
Schools, St. Joseph’s has 89 students this year in grades pre-K through
6, whereas St. Mary’s has 109 students in pre-K through 5. St. Mary’s
currently does not have a sixth grade.

Holy Family Catholic Community encompasses the parishes of St.
Joseph’s, St. Mary’s, St. Pius V in Cohocton and Sacred Heart in
Perkinsville. Father Stephen Kraus, cluster pastor, said that the new
school’s location in southern Livingston County will offer the best
opportunity for future growth — not only in attracting Holy
Family-area students but also those from such Livingston County
communities as Mount Morris, Nunda, Livonia and Geneseo.

“We’re very much looking forward to this new venture, and are happy
to continue Catholic education strongly in our cluster,” Father Kraus
stated.

Father Kraus acknowledged that there will “inevitably” be sadness
over the closing of St. Joseph’s School, but said the parish is
considering “some creative ideas” for future use of the building. One
possibility, he said, is to convert it into a faith-formation
center.

St. Joseph’s School, located in northern Steuben County, was founded
in 1884; the current school building opened in 1932. Its closing will
leave the county with two Catholic schools, St. Ann’s in Hornell and
All Saints Academy in Corning. All Saints is a recent example of
consolidation as well, having eliminated one of two buildings beginning
this school year.

St. Mary’s is currently one of two Catholic schools in Livingston
County, the other being St. Agnes in Avon.

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