FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Parents of a Fresno Catholic school are trying to save the 60-year-old school from closing.
They're asking for the community's help after the Diocese of Fresno said it can no longer help pay to keep St. Helen's School of Fresno open.
Emotions ran high at the Sunday afternoon meeting where nearly 100 parents met to establish a game plan to save the school from locking its classroom doors for good.
They were emailed a letter from the Office of Catholic Education Friday, saying the 60-year-old Catholic school is in debt to the diocese by more than $500,000, and it will likely have to close after this school year.
Parents like Cynthia Serrano are torn. Her 5th-grade daughter has gone here since kindergarten.
"I told her Friday when we found out and she cried for hours," she said.
Serrano pays a little more than $400 a month for tuition. It's one of few private schools in the area she says is reasonably priced.
"It's affordable," she said. "You want your children to have a better foundation, and, yes, you can teach that at home but this school teaches it throughout the day when you have to go to work."
It's something 6th grader Sophia Bruce knows firsthand.
"Here you learn to be a good person," she said. "Like other places, you just learn academic stuff, but here you learn what it is to be nice to be kind to be a good Catholic."
And some of the school's 200 students were out on the basketball court, singing and praying - praying that they will be able to return next school year.
Parents have until May 22 to raise the funds. They say anyone wanting to help can go on the school's website to donate or call the school at 559-251-5855.