Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sacred Heart Bites the Dust

Sacred Heart School in Newport, Vermont is closing. Unless you live around here (on the Vermont/Quebec Border) you probably don't care too much. Since my kids were supposed to start school there in three weeks, and since we relocated from Burlington on the strength of our belief that the school was on a good footing. When I wrote an email to a member of the board that I know six months ago and asked how things were going he told me Up Up Up. I don't blame him. I think at that moment things did look good. Plans were in the works to buy a new building. Funds were being raised. We had A Plan.

Last Sunday all us parents were called to the gym of the old school building and told enrollment had not been sufficient to hold school in the building and the lease offered by the nuns who own the building was not acceptable. A last-minute switcheroo to a local parish sunday school was proposed. We checked it out the next day. New and clean, though small. Not great, but the public school in our village is famously lousy (open mouth breathing/foot dragging all that goes with poverty in rural America). We figured it was our best bet. Then, tonight, the call. The Trustees met tonight and, I guess, they did not get enough commitment to open the school at all. So fifty families and a bunch of teachers have to figure out what to do.

The school has been around here for 100 years and the roots go deep. There are not many institutions of any size up here - no big hospital or college. I think there is going to be a lot of genuine heartbreak when the news gets out.

And yet, this disaster probably opens the door for a new private school here. I have been thinking for a long time that a country day school, with an emphasis on academics and outdoor activities, might have room to grow here. I don't think we can assemble anything in the next three weeks, but you read it here first...

If anyone has good ideas on what to do for our 4th and 1st graders, let me know!