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St. Andrew's School

March 23, 2018
Late this afternoon, the St. Andrew's Episcopal School Board sent the following letter to all families with children enrolled in the school for next year:

Dear Parents, Faculty, Staff and Friends,
It is with an extremely heavy heart that we are reaching out to you about recent developments regarding our enrollment and financial sustainability challenges. The Board, School and Church have been diligently working to resolve the obstacles we face. We identified new initiatives last fall, hired an advancement consultant, traveled near and far to learn about the successes of other schools, changed the look of our annual fund campaign, and took to heart the meaningful responses from our successful accreditation visit.
In spite of our valiant efforts, it has become clear to us that the School is unable to meet the financial obligations necessary to fulfill our mission. Therefore, on Thursday, March 22, 2018, after much prayerful deliberation, the School Board reluctantly voted to cease student operations on June 8, 2018 and to cease all business operations on August 31, 2018. The vote was unanimous.
We are committed to doing everything we can to support our families, faculty and staff during this time of transition. There will be a Support and Information Session for adults Monday, March 26, 2018 in the sanctuary of the Church at 6:30 p.m.
At this link, we have attempted to answer some of the questions you may have, and we welcome the opportunity to continue the conversation on Monday.
Melvin J. Ferebee and Anne R. Kirchmier
for the St. Andrew's Episcopal School Board

As your rector and as a member of the School's Board, I wish with all my heart that things were different. Coming to this decision was wrenching for everyone involved. As you know, our Vestry has been actively engaged in working alongside the Board to support the School. But we are not able to cover the $300,000+ deficit that the School would face next year if it were to open its doors. As of today, there were only 48 students enrolled, with 95 total needed for a balanced budget.
I know that this news comes as a shock and a surprise. I also know that it will be helpful for us to be able to talk about it together as a church community. There is a desperate need in our world for children to know about Jesus. As a parish we have much work to do to discern what new mission God is now calling us into to spread the Good News among children and families. I look forward to setting up opportunities for that conversation early in the Easter season, likely in conjunction with the Being and Becoming conversations we have already begun.
Meanwhile, I think our job as a parish is to walk lovingly and pastorally with all those impacted by this sad situation. We need to surround the school's families, students, staff, and faculty with our love and prayers, to participate in ongoing fundraising to cover the costs of the current year, to show up at school events and functions, and to do all that we can to make these final months the best they can possibly be for all involved.
During Holy Week, Jesus faithfully and gracefully walked a path that he would rather not have had to follow. That is our task now, in this situation. Thanks be to God that as Christians, we know that endings and death are never the end of the story.
Every blessing.