By Chris Wright, The News On 6
BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Tough times force the closure of a private high school. Citing the economy and falling enrollment, Grace Christian High School in Broken Arrow will close its doors.
School is already out for the summer at Grace Christian High School near 96th and Garnett. But, it won't be re-opening in the fall. The school ended this year with more than 300 students in grades K-12.
Administrators say that's a drop of more than 100 from 2008, and they can no longer afford to operate the high school.
"Many of the students have been here since they were in K-4. So, it's really tough, and the teachers have been here for years. So, our heart really goes out to them and we want to help them any way we can," said Grace Church Pastor Bob Yandian.
A total of 19 employees will be let go.
Pastor Yandian says they will be offered severance packages, and students will be given referrals to other private Christian High Schools.
"Whenever you lose a quality Christian school in the community like Grace, everyone feels the loss," said Victory Superintendent Dr. Dennis Demuth.
Victory Superintendent Dennis Demuth says his school has room for any Grace Christian students who want to finish their education at a private school. He says while enrollment is healthy at Victory, the economy is on the minds of all private institutions.
"The economy is definitely a factor. It's the number one reason why parents withdraw from private school, and it's the same thing in our case," said Victory Superintendent Dr. Dennis Demuth.
Grace Christian hopes the closure will be temporary. Administrators told Six In The Morning that when the economy rebounds, they plan to be back.
Victory says gas prices have also affected enrollment. The school says despite the poor economy, it saw a spike in its number of students when gas prices plummeted last fall.