Saint Michael’s School to Close

April 18, 2010 by  
Filed under News

SAINT  MICHAEL’S SCHOOL TO CLOSE…  Tybee’s Catholic School Closing after 62 Years

Much to the consternation of parents and local supporters, it looks like Saint Michael’s School on Tybee will be closing its doors at the end of the present school year. The news, sent out from the Bishop’s office over Spring Break caused an uproar of protest and concern throughout the community of Tybee Island. Many parents and supporters have been calling the diocese in alarm in the hopes that something could be done to stop the closure.

Redistricting may be one of the causes for the recent shortfall of students experienced by Saint Michael’s, as May Howard on Wilmington Island is now the main school for the islands, but officials say the current economy was also a deciding factor in the difficult decision to close the school. They say there just aren’t enough children on Tybee that aren’t enrolled in public school – in other words, people are taking their children out of private schools due to the economy. But it isn’t just a financial issue. “The community has always supported Saint Michael’s,” says PTO Chair Pat Cook. “It’s definitely nothing the community has done, it’s just the numbers are down – the school has only registered 37 children right now for the fall term – this current year, we had over 75. Saint Michael’s needs at least 50 paying children.” Cook adds, “We’ve always had enough community support, but the problem is the same one that all private schools are facing namely not enough students, not enough financing long term – and there’s no quick fix. This was actually our best year as a PTO, but it’s just not working – you can’t pay teachers to teach 37 children. We need more than money – we need kids!”

Officials say they felt that spring break was the best time to make the announcement, before the Pre-K lottery on April 12th, and in time for teachers to look for new contracts. Parents and supporters are
very unhappy, and disturbed at what some feel may be the long term affects of losing the Tybee school. An effort to bring in more students is underway. There’s also a move to raise funds. Stay tuned…

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