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Low enrollment numbers force Raleigh private school to close

Posted July 2, 2008

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— Lower-than-projected enrollment numbers have forced a Raleigh private school to close.

Employees at the Raleigh Latin School, a classical nondenominational Christian private school, were notified Monday that the school would not reopen in the fall.

The school had a forecast of 60 to 65 students at the beginning of June, but by the end of June had 38 families committed with a deposit to enroll, Chris Holley, the school's chairman of the board, said.

With the "de-commitments," Holley said, the school lost $120,000 in anticipated revenue from the operating budget and could not start the school year "in good faith."

Holley said board members were "heartbroken to shut (the school) down because of the "emotional commitment" faculty and families made to the school.

Some families who opted out of a private education chose to go to charter schools, instead, he said.

He said he sees the school as a "victim of the economy because private school is a discretionary expense."

Board members and school leaders will meet at 8 p.m. Wednesday evening with families to explain to them their reasons for closing the school and to present to them their options.

Holley said they could enroll their children in either Trinity Academy in Raleigh or Hopewell Academy in Cary; both schools have agreed to honor tuition contracts, he said.

Holley said, at this point, it is unclear whether parents who paid advanced tuitions and don't want to enroll their children in either of those schools would get their money back.

Those payments went to June's operating expenses, he said, and the school has to settle its debts first.

The school, which enrolled middle- and high-school students opened four years and had 60 students last year. It had the highest average SAT score in Wake County for the 2006-2007 school year.

Tuition was $9,500 per year for high school students, $8,000 per year for middle school students.

27 Comments

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  • lauraleigh Jul 2, 2008

    Mr Bergeron -
    IQ may play a role - after all a child with a low IQ does't have a chance to do well on these things - but the critical thinking skils, the rational thinking, the foundational competencies all come into play and are very much the result of the student's education.

  • Harrison Bergeron Jul 2, 2008

    "One does not get top SAT scores with only one-two years of private school education." -PTA mom

    I would submit that one doesn't get top SAT scores by education alone, no matter how many years. Couldn't these scores, in part, be skewed by IQ?

  • lauraleigh Jul 2, 2008

    PTA mom-
    I saw individual students' SAT scores rise dramatically after only one year at RLHS. I stand by what I said; the curriculum makes a huge difference.

    These kids will turn out to be some very fine, well-informed, thinking citizens.

  • lizard Jul 2, 2008

    Tuition seems high to me even for a private school. The turition I paid was almost half that. They did seem to have gotten their money's worth however; with the highest average SAT scores in the county. (seankelly's kids must not have gone there - LOL)

  • PTA mom Jul 2, 2008

    Lauraleigh- while you are right to defend RLHS SAT scores lets not forget that they were only operating for 2-3 years tops so please also give credit to the education these students got in their formative years before RLHS opened its doors. One does not get top SAT scores with only one-two years of private school education.

  • Leonardo Jul 2, 2008

    whatelseisnew:

    I'm not sure you realize what you're asking for when you say the government should be helping fund private religious schools. Would this also apply to Islamic schools where they spend most of their time studying the Koran? What about the FLDS church in Texas that was just raided...should that be receiving government funding because they're teaching their own children? What about Catholic schools...do you want your tax money going to fund one of the wealthiest institutions in the world? What about schools based on Wicca/witchcraft...do you want to be funding that too?

    I assume you're answer to this question is going to be that this is a Christian nation, and so only true Christian religious schools (e.g. Southern Baptist) should be funded, right?

  • lauraleigh Jul 2, 2008

    Carolina Girl -
    The outstanding SAT scores achieved by RLHS students had more to do with the foundational skills and competencies taught at the school than the money their parents paid. RLHS was one of the most affordable public schools in the area, and it gave generously, extravagantly, for those tuition dollars.

  • lauraleigh Jul 2, 2008

    I'm heartbroken to learn of this. I was on the starting faculty for that school. I believe in its philosophy, its academic standards, and the quality of education it provided for the students there. The faculty was stellar. Raleigh families have lost a truly wonderful academic alternative.

    God bless you all - RLHS.

  • thewayitis Jul 2, 2008

    I bet ya many of the students left will end up being home schooled. That's what I would do. With public schools in a continous decline, and money tight, homeschooling is the only option left for parents who don't want to send their kids to the public schools. That's what happened to us -- we couldn't afford to spend $20,000 a year for two kids to go to private school, so homeschooling was the only option we were comfortable with. And yes, we did try public schools first. They are not working. I am a proud public school graduate, but I went to school in the 70s, and things were very different then -- namely, kids went to school to learn academics, not political correctness, and kids knew how to behave as well. And if they didn't, well, there was always the paddle. Today, there are no consequences for misbehavior in schools; hence, there is no discipline at all. And the kids who want to learn are unable to do so due to all the distractions.

  • PC is for Losers Jul 2, 2008

    I turned out fine whatelse...it's all about effort and if your child can't find that in the public schools here then perhaps they should be sent away to a "Latin" school.
    I didn't always have great teachers - and didn't always make the best effort, but based upon my privste school friends that traded over, there wasn't too much over and beyond the public offering. Whatever. Sorry about your fog.

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