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Mercy High School creates plan to remain open after facing the threat of shutting down

A private catholic school in Red Bluff that faced the possibility of shutting down has announced a plan to stay open.

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 8:59 PM
Updated: Feb 24, 2020 11:20 AM

UPDATE: 11:06 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24 - A private catholic school in Red Bluff that faced the possibility of shutting down has announced a plan to stay open.

Mercy High School announced in a letter, "We are extremely pleased to announce that we intend to keep Mercy High School open in its current location, as a diocesan high school, next school year, so long as we can meet certain milestones, as stated below."

The school announced that a budget has been created that includes financial support from both the diocese and the Friends of Mercy, within a practical staffing framework.

The school said staff met last week with a group of parents to discuss several items. A successful sports program was brainstormed, a sports boosters group was created, plans for fundraising and creating a sustainable competitive program are underway.

The school announced the following list of items that they must meet in order to keep Mercy High School open next year:

  • "All pledges must be realized by the time of the town hall on March 5. We want to state clearly that these donations will be used for the operation of Mercy High School as a diocesan school next year. We will use this year to work with the community in getting Mercy onto a new path.
  • Donations should be made directly to Mercy High School. Checks can be made to the high school with a notation in the memo line, “for the 20-21 academic year.” Donors may further designate their funds for “current campus only” if they do not wish to support a K - 12th-grade model. We will put all donations into a special account, and if we cannot operate the school at its current campus next year, all donations will be returned as directed by the donor. In order to present a realistic plan to the community on March 5th, all donation monies must be in the office by that date.
  • As a diocesan school, all staff and program decisions will be made by the school administration. We are not at liberty to discuss final staffing for next year, but be assured we will continue to have the highly qualified faculty necessary to deliver a full A - G high school curriculum.
  • We must meet a minimum enrollment of 70 students by April 15th, 2020.
  • There must be continuing open, honest communication among all stakeholders in order to ensure the future of Catholic high school in the North State."

However, Mercy High also said if they are not able to accomplish all of the donation and enrollment conditions, they will only have two options.

One, to be forced to close completely. Second, move to a K-12 grade model on the Sacred Heart campus. A registration form will ask families if they are open to a K-12 model.

"We understand that there is still a lot of work ahead of us, this year and next. At the town hall, we will talk more about our plans for the curriculum and extracurriculars next year, and our vision going forward," Board Chair of Catholic Schools of the Northern Sacramento Valley, John Kenny said.

The school will make a final announcement and start open registration on March 5 at 7 p.m.

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RED BLUFF, Calif. - Faculty, parents, and students at Mercy High School, a private Catholic school in Red Bluff are worried that the school will have to close down because of not enough funds.

Storm Fuchs, mother of two boys who go to Mercy High says the possibility of the school closing concerns her.

School administrators say they need to raise $200,000 in order to keep kids in class for another year.

"Sort of the last conversation over the past month or two has been how are we going to come together and work on the same page to come up with long term solutions," says Scott Matthews, principal of Mercy High School.

Mercy High School is the only Catholic high school in the North State. The school receives some funding from the Catholic Diocese in Sacramento. However, with a few student enrollments, the school is facing a challenge to raise money to keep its doors open.

Matthews says the Diocese has been extremely generous with the school for the last two years, providing some funding.

"The financial challenges that we’ve run into they’ve helped out with last year, but they’re looking to see how we can make changes so that we can support ourselves as well," says Matthews.

Currently, there are 82 students enrolled at Mercy High, not enough to keep the school running. The school says it's looking to alternatives if they're unable to get the funds they need. One option would be to merge Mercy High with other local schools.

"One option is to switch over to a K through 12 schools over at Sacred Heart, which is the Catholic grammar school in town," says Matthews. 

Both parents and faculty tell Action News Now they're optimistic that they won't have to resort to those options.

"We need support, we need support to continue the legacy of Mercy High School, so we need the community support.," says Fuchs, a parent of two kids who attend Mercy High. 

The school will be meeting with the Diocese in March to work to reach an agreement. 

Parents and alumni have formed a group called "Friends of Mercy" to try and raise the $200,000. The school is currently accepting any donations from people who'd like to help. 

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