It is with sadness, disappointment and a heavy heart that we reach the last day of school and have to resign ourselves to the closing of our school. As you may already know, after being notified by the Diocese regarding a pending school closure, our board was granted a two-month extension on the Diocese's decision for closure. Everyone was encouraged by this extension on the decision, hoping that our combined efforts would be successful and allow the school's continued operation. On May 14, our board evaluated the entire situation and assessed that in fact the school was indeed able to remain open for the 2012-2013 year.
This unanimous resolution by the board was transmitted to the Diocese but in the end it was rejected.
This action of the Diocese which then made the earlier March 9 resolution (which included the enrollment number of 100 and which resulted in permission for the two- month extension) binding in their eyes, indicated to us that from the diocesan perspective, the history of our school over the past 10 years and the presumed projections for even the next few years revealed to them that enrollment would not be adequate to continue sustainable operation.
Parenthetically, we did reach an enrollment number of 99. However, our number included pre-K through 8, whereas the Diocese acknowledges only K-8.
The Diocese has pointed out that in the past 10 years our enrollment has significantly declined by 69 percent and that there has been, over this time, a failure to effect significant change, although various opportunities were available from the Diocese. Also, the Diocese determined that the ability of our school to achieve financial sustainability going forward was questionable, in part at least due to the various incentives in place for next year.
It was also pointed out that the demographics of our area with decreasing population and the economic recession were significant contributors to the enrollment problem.
The financial goal, outlined in the March resolution by the board, was clearly met, as noted in the May 14th board resolution. The board was thrilled with the fundraising effort. In fact, $146,000 was raised, above and beyond the goal.
Additional potential donations were even forthcoming. Individuals, organizations, foundations, alumns, area businesses, churches and community leaders all stepped up to the plate for our school. The enrollment effort was also felt to be successful in that the enrollment increased by almost 30 percent for 2012 in a compressed time period of about two months, and in spite of the uncertainty about the school's future.
The board felt that this significant effort was a good sign for the future, and even though tuition incentives were offered, the hope was that with our excellent academic record and student growth on many levels, the students and parents would recognize the value of our educational experience and would remain in our school.
All of these many efforts by so many were in the realm of heroic and showed the wide spread support of our school. CAHF has offered an excellent academic product and character development in a supportive, caring and spiritual environment, to offer to the world well educated, well rounded, grounded, and balanced good citizens and leaders that our world depends on.
Regretfully, after over 140 years, the doors will have to close.
Many have come forward to attempt a reversal of this decision, but to no avail to this point. We are grateful for each and every effort.
With thanks and sincere appreciation for all that you have done,
Ann Aversa, the Rev. Darrell Duffy, Katalin Geary, David Leathers, Dr. Lillian Vitanza Ney, Dr. Samuel Peppy Jr., James Smith, Richard Soti, Anthony Tuccio