Immaculate Conception School in Wellsville to close due to declining enrollment and finances

Diocese of Buffalo Photo

Immaculate Conception School in Wellsville won’t re-open in the fall due to projected enrollment being less than half that of this year, combined with “a recent history of operating at a budget deficit.”

Bishop Michael Fisher of the the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo made the announcement today, saying the decision had been made by the board of trustees after a more than 125-year educational history.

Originally started under the direction of Wellsville’s Immaculate Conception Parish, it became a diocesan regional school under the auspices of the Diocese of Buffalo in 2007, he said.

During the just concluded school year, Immaculate Conception had 46 students in its pre-K through sixth grade program, with confirmed registrations for the fall semester being fewer than 20.

“One of the most challenging decisions to make as a bishop is to close a Catholic school,” Fisher said. “This community has tried valiantly to sustain this longstanding school and the harsh recent economics, and the realities of the upcoming lack of enrollment, force us to make this unfortunate decision.”

He commended “the great support of canonical administrator Father Jim Hartwell and Principal Caitilin Dewey, and also thank(ed) the Sisters of Mercy for their long history of involvement with the school.”