Parents have been picking up their kids at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Central Fresno since it opened 63 years ago, but that could soon change. "This is where I wanted them to stay until they went off to high school," said Jerry Torres. Torres' twins have been attending Sacred Heart for several years so news that the school was in financial trouble galvanized parents like him to help save the school from closing.
"All the parents have always rallied in parent club boards and doing things but I think with the news of a possible closure -- they've rallied a lot more," said Libby Montesnation, president of the Parent Club of Sacred Heart.
This comes after the diocese conducted a viability study to determine the school's financial stability. It has been losing money and owes the diocese more than $400,000. "It's a difficult decision because the school's in financial problems. The school needs to do quite a bit of work but the biggest issue is enrollment," said Richard Sexton, superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Fresno.
The school's enrollment is the lowest in the diocese and it's expected to drop in the next few years. "The worst case scenario would be closing the school. The best of course is keeping it open and increasing enrollment," said Sexton.
School administrators started an online petition to raise support and more than 400 people have already signed on -- some giving donations. "We've seen a lot of small donations and I guess a few little larger donations. A lot of that has come from alumni," said Montesnation.
Fresno Bishop Armando Ochoa will have the final say as to what will happen. He is expected to make a decision on the school's future soon. "We say prayers every day. The kids say prayers every day that the school stays open. We're not thinking any other way right now. All of our plans are we're going to be here next year," said Montesnation.
Teachers, parents and students now wait for the Bishop but are hoping for a miracle.