TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa private school that's educated hundreds of students for three decades is closing its doors. Grace Christian School will not reopen next school year.
Pastor Bob Yandian blames declining enrollment. In a letter to parents, Yandian said keeping the school open would hurt the church financially.
"Some financial commitments have come in, but enrollment has decreased instead of increasing," Yandian said in the letter. "We are now only six weeks away from time to begin a new school year, and a decision has to be made."
Some people say closing the school could be a huge loss for the community.
Running her family's restaurant in Broken Arrow, Teri Kidd knows times are tough. But it's her church family that's fallen on hard times.
"Hard on us. There's been a lot of crying," Kidd said. "The school's been there they said - I think - 32 years, so I was surprised," she said.
The private school has been gradually shrinking, losing 100 students from 2008 to 2009, which forced its high school to shutdown last May.
"So we lost our high school last year, so that was a surprise," Kidd said. "But uh, but we had huge enrollment at the elementary so we really felt secure in the elementary and middle school."
But the younger grades took a hit this year.
A letter on the school's website says parents, teachers and the church congregation have been working for weeks to raise money and boost enrollment.
Kidd's restaurant, Shiloh's, tried to help out, pledging a 10% donation for every customer that mentioned Grace Christian School. But the school's website says the student body was so small that it would be financially detrimental to the church.
"It's really sad and I'm not really ok with it," said Erica Kidd, a Grace Christian School student. "So all of those teachers lost their jobs and we had lots of teachers. So it's not good."
"It's been very sad, very sad for our teachers some have been there 20 or 25 years," Teri Kidd said.
Teri says she's searching for a new school for her daughter but she's still going to continue to pray for the return of her old one.
"Yeah there's always hope, always hope," she said. "For our economy, for everything."
Grace Christian School had been operating for the past 32 years.