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Parent Wants Bishop to Reconsider St. Francis of Assisi Closing

Tonawanda, NY (WBEN) A father is calling on the bishop to reconsider last week's closing of St. Francis of Assisi School in the City of Tonawanda. A parent meeting is coming up later this week to discuss a course of action.

Mark Saltarelli has sent a letter to BIshop Richard Malone asking him to reconsider the closing of the school. "I don't think the diocese fully understands the impact that they're causing on the twin cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda," says Saltarelli, who is himself a graduate as are many members of his family. "We have a substantial core population, and if the bishop says there is a moral obligation to take care of the poor, then all the more reason why St. Francis of Assisi School must continue to operate."

Saltarelli is also upset with inconsistency in criteria used in determining closings. "We have close to 200 students going through the school at this time, and is the only school on the list that had an increase in enrollment," claims Saltarelli. "The demographics they used only looked at the city of Tonawanda itself without seeing the surrounding areas we support. We support North Tonawanda, Niagara-Wheatfield and the Town of Tonawanda, and those demographics needed to be included in their research as well."

Saltarelli adds the school raised $75,000 in donations for new windows, and there's also a $500,000 endowment fund which provides a yearly cash flow. "Our financial picture has never been better," says Saltarelli.

A parent meeting will be held Thursday night at the school hall,and Saltarelli says while he doesn't consider taking legal action against Bishop Richard Malone, he and other parents will accept student applications.

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