Immaculata Catholic School Closure

Dear Immaculata Catholic School Families,

 

    Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses. He sets the time for
    birth and the time for death, the time for planting and the time for pulling up, the time for 
    killing and the time for healing, the time for tearing down and the time for building. He sets 
    the time for sorrow and the time for joy …

                                                                                                                                           Ecclesiastes 3:1-3

 

This past September, the Board of Trustees presented the state of our Catholic schools to the community. This was a candid, balanced report on student accomplishments, the religious foundations so important to their formation, the rigorous academic programs, the vision for the future of our schools, and the unwavering support for our current school leaders. Students are thriving, parents are satisfied with Catholic education, and administrators are receiving more inquiries about our schools. The Board also had concerns about the realities we face – low enrollment, rising costs, aging infrastructure, and most importantly, the budget shortfall. 

We are at a crossroads with problems growing beyond our ability to solve. Despite the best efforts of our current dedicated leaders, the demand for Catholic education in our Region continues to decline as evidenced by a lack of growth in our enrollment, particularly at Immaculata. We have worked hard to reach out to parents in surrounding communities but with limited success. At the same time, we have benefited enormously from generous financial and other support from you, our alumni and friends, our parishes, and the Archdiocese. But without an adequate number of students, keeping a Catholic high school open is increasingly problematic. 

We can no longer sustain school operations at Immaculata. The cost per student exceeds revenue per student by more than $5,000. We do not have the resources to provide any further financial assistance from our foundation. We are expending all received funds from the 2015 Spring Appeal just to meet current obligations, and our cash flow problem is significant. We continue to accept an extremely high amount of risk in our facilities with no funds to address needed long-term solutions for infrastructure. Our deferred maintenance issues are growing monthly. We cannot continue to operate in this manner. 

Regrettably, the Board of Trustees is recommending to the Archbishop that Immaculata Catholic School grades 9-12 close effective 2 June 2017, and restructure LRCSS to a more viable Preschool - 8th grade Catholic school. 

The timing of this announcement is extremely difficult. We waited until after the new year because we wanted families, faculty and staff to enjoy Christmas without distractions. Most importantly, we concluded it was critical, and most fair, to give families appropriate notice following the Board’s vote held before Christmas. 

What does this mean for our students, faculty and staff? In the near-term, we are committed to working diligently on these key and essential tasks:

·         Continue normal school operations and activities focusing on our students.

·         Graduate our current senior class this coming May.

·         Integrate students wishing to remain in Catholic education in area Catholic high schools. We will explore options for transportation and scholarship assistance.

·         Ensure a smooth and timely transfer of required information to other high schools.

·         Assist our highly qualified faculty and staff in finding positions at other schools.

·         Celebrate Immaculata’s traditions with a spirit of gratitude as we change our structure.

In the long-term, we envision a sustainable Catholic school from Preschool thru 8th grade. This vision is uppermost in the minds of the Board of Trustees. We want to focus the next 3 – 5 years on restructuring our Catholic elementary and middle schools in order to achieve a better posture for the schools to be sustainable. Concurrently, the Trustees will develop a new long-term plan that leverages funding sources beyond the local community. 

Meanwhile, we face some immediate concerns. We need to redouble our efforts in:

·         Continuing our current fundraising projects – especially the Greenway Auction – to ensure we can meet this year’s budget requirements, including personnel costs, and to help support a viable Preschool thru 8th grade for the years ahead.

·         Preparing requests to several Catholic foundations and philanthropic organizations to seek funding sources to provide the necessary means to ensure Xavier’s financial health over the next 3 – 5 years.

·         Laying the foundation for Catholic education for the long-term with your continued support thereby ensuring children have the opportunity to live their faith at Xavier.

There are many questions to address, and this letter is neither the appropriate means to convey that information nor is there enough space to share all the facts bearing on the problem. We understand your need to process this information, reflect upon what it means to you, and then have an opportunity to discuss this decision in person with the Board of Trustees and school leaders. To that end, the Board of Trustees will conduct an information meeting on January 12, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Immaculata Catholic School auditorium to address your questions and provide more information on the way forward. 

We remain thoughtful in prayer and ask for God’s continued grace and the wisdom needed to guide us to keep Catholic education strong in Leavenworth County. 

    He instructed our ancestors to teach his laws to their children, so that the next generation
    might learn them and in turn should tell their children. In this way they also will put their  
    trust in God and not forget what he has done, but always obey his commandments.                                                                                                                                                             Psalm 78: 5-7

 


Sincerely,

Rolly Dessert 

Chair, LRCSS Board of Trustees

 

Press Release: January 4, 2017