• News Desk - Media Mahima *


Students of a private school in Santa Clara, South Bay have been left in the lurch after the sudden announcement of their school shutting down. Saint Lawrence Academy is a Catholic college preparatory high school which will wind up at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. An official website on the school's website says the closure is due to declining enrollment levels & significant levels of debts. The school also attributed the inability to raise funds as one of the reasons for the closure.

Students were informed about the decision earlier this week, while parents were simply informed through an email. Aggrieved parents are planning to meet in the school premises on Wednesday to discuss the next course of action. The school has been facing financial troubles from a while, but none of the parents were aware of the same. The news has brought grief to the tight-knit community at the school.

The school did have fund-raising activities in the past but none of the parents had an inkling of its financial woes. In a meeting with the parents, the Bishop at the school simply put his hands up & had no answers for the closure, despite parents coming up with some out-of-the-box solutions.

According to one of the parents who spoke to Media Mahima on the condition of anonymity, “Being in the Bay Area we had plenty of options when it came to schooling for our children. However we chose this institution because of the dedicated team of teachers & small class sizes.” The parent further added that, “Students thrive in a smaller environment. My son would get lost in a large school.” The school has been highly praised for teachers partnering with students in planning the curriculum. Lawrence Academy is also one of the few schools catering to children with special needs.

Parents of 11th grade students are a particularly worried lot. 11th grade is a key year in the college planning process with students planning for prep tests & narrowing the college list among others. Students need to discuss with their counselors what courses they need to choose to make sure they are on course for graduation. Teachers are often requested to write recommendations for students. However in the case of Saint Lawrence Academy even the teachers are going to lose their jobs. Students moving to another school need to keep in touch with their old teachers for the recommendations.

One of the parents expressed surprise at the school’s financial woes & how the school did not use its clout in the Catholic community to raise funds. Parents are also a loss as to why the school never communicated with them about its financial woes.

The school’s administration has promised to help place students in other schools next year. However according to a parent, all admissions testing for diocesan schools has been completed. The Catholic schools are no longer accepting applications. Parents are concerned about the future of their children considering the long waiting lists for other private schools in the Bay Area.

As parents scramble to look for alternate options they have started an online petition https://www.change.org/p/the-diocese-of-san-jose-save-saint-lawrence-academy to save the school.

In a statement to Media Mahima, The Diocese of San Jose has said that the estimated debt of the school is close to $ 2 mn. The Board has denied any reports of financial mismanagement at the school.

(News Desk* - Neha Raghunath & Kavita S)

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