April 24, 2007

Saint Agnes High School in Danger of Closing

In the Pioneer Press today was an article (that I'm having trouble accessing) about St. Agnes High School, in St. Paul, MN being in danger of closing due to financial problems and enrollment uncertainty.

Most of you know that St. Agnes is one of the most authentically Catholic parishes in the world and it's school is very orthodox as well. Numerous vocations have been fostered from St. Agnes.

My understanding is that the high school is in danger, but not the grade school.

I don't have a definite plan right now because I'm still at work so this post is very much on the fly. More later-maybe tomorrow. Anyone else with ideas or who knows who to send money too, etc. post a comment please.

For now here's the story from the school website:

A Message from Saint Agnes

Saint Agnes High School has been coping with financial challenges for some time, a fact that we have tried to communicate to parents of our students, teachers and parishioners. This situation has been primarily brought about by yearly deficits for several years, the need for large amounts of financial aid for our student population and by a significant decline in our enrollment five years ago. Because of this, we have incurred significant debt during these past years, and the debt is growing. We have been working hard to find solutions to maintain this outstanding Catholic high school. A commitment from families of current and potential students and a significant new donation will be critical to the success of this effort.

Q: What is the financial situation of the school at this time?

A: The Church of Saint Agnes has been extremely generous to its school over the years because we believe in the mission of a faithfully Catholic education. When comparing the school finances in relation to Parish income, some facts become clear. During the 2006-2007 academic year, the operating deficit of the entire school (K-12) will equal the entire level of parish income during the same period. In other words, Saint Agnes Parish is subsidizing the school this year at a rate of 100% of Parish income. The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis recommends that in order to provide for the sound fiscal health of a parish, that figure should not exceed 40%.

Q: How has Saint Agnes tried to deal with this situation?

A: We made some difficult decisions at mid-year to address some of these problems, including a reduction in force of six employees. This fact in and of itself led to tremendous speculation about our school's future, and some prospective new families began making other plans. It became imperative that we continue to promote our future in the most positive manner possible. This is what we have tried to do, but in more recent weeks it became evident that the registration of even our current students was lagging significantly from what we had anticipated.

Q: What is the specific financial revenue that is needed in order for the high school to open next fall?

A: There is no easy answer to this type of question, because of the many different variables that contribute to the question. Much of it depends on an accurate assessment of enrollment for next year, projected financial aid needs of this enrolled student body, staffing level needs for the size of student body – and ultimately an approved and acceptable level of parish subsidy for next year. For this reason, we are encouraging our families to get their registration materials sent in immediately, we are welcoming contributions to the school which have already started to arrive, and we will continue to look at the all of the information critically as a decision needs to be derived soon.

Q: What is Saint Agnes doing (or what can parents, staff and student do) today to address the situation?

A: Again, we cannot emphasize enough the need for families to make clear their intent of enrollment by completing their registration materials as soon as possible. In addition, there is an appeal going to out to our broad base of supporters and alumni in the next day. If you have practical ideas as to how to help the school address these critical issues, please contact Mary Appel or Jean Houghton at 651/228-1636.

The Saint Agnes Schools, 530 Lafond Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55103 651-228-1161


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This would be a real shame. We have three young daughters and we were planning on sending them all through the St. Agnes Schools. I really hope that the High School stays open.

April 24, 2007 7:26 PM  
Blogger Ray from MN said...

Good reporting, Scoop! I didn't think of looking at the St Agnes web page!

The PPD article is accessible now.

April 25, 2007 5:27 AM  

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