SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Parents of students at Christian Center School in Shreveport learned Thursday that the school is shutting down without notice. The school’s principal confirms the final decision to close the school was made Wednesday night.
Students and parents were told Thursday that the private Montessori school would be their last day of classes and that it will not be open on Monday.
“It is with deepest regret that we come to you with this news,” begins a letter distributed to parents Thursday morning:
Christian Center School has reached an impasse. We have not had the enrollment we usually have had for the school year. We find that we will not be able to stay open with the small enrollment we have this year. We have struggled with lowering enrollment and thus financial status for the last few years, but now we know that we cannot carry the loss this year. We have decided that the best course of action is to close the school immediately so that students are not too far behind to find other schools to attend.Letter to parents from Christian Center School
The letter goes on to advise parents that tuition refunds would be available for those who agree to sign a release.
“We deeply regret this situation, but trust that you will understand. We want to refund any payments for this year to those parents who will agree to the release of the school from any requirements to provide for their children this year,” reads the letter signed by Principal Scott Hooper.
Stephanie Phelan says she was handed the letter when dropping her 8-year-old son Owen off Thursday morning. She says her son’s teacher was also laid off along with other teachers and staff. Her husband John Phelan says they had no inkling there were issues.
“We feel like something is going on that we aren’t being told about. You knew what attendance was looking like before enrollment started in July,” said John Phelan.
Small classroom size was one of the reasons the Phelans starting sending their son to the Montessori school more than two years ago, and they say he excelled there. Now, less than a week into the new school year, they’re scrambling to find an alternative for their son’s education.
“We have already spent hundreds of dollars on clothing and supplies for this school,” said John Phelan. “It’s too late to register at any other Montessori school. There was no prior warning. They have put a lot of families in a very bad spot.”
The Phelans say there were only a few dozen children enrolled at the small school and that there were no 4th, 5th, or 6th-grade classes this year or last due to lack of students to fill them. Still, they say they were given every reason to believe the school wasn’t going anywhere.
“We were told there was a new principal this year and they were looking to get things rolling with better programs and boosting enrollment,” said John Phelan. “We were led to believe that this was supposed to be a year of change.”
The Montessori school is a ministry of the non-denominational Christian Center Shreveport church. They share a campus at 207 Idema St. in south Shreveport. According to the school’s Facebook page, which has since been taken down, the school was founded in 1985. The school has not yet responded to a request for comment.