Oahu Catholic school to drop upper grades after school year

HONOLULU — A Catholic school on Oahu is planning to close its middle and high schools at the end of the school year, citing financial difficulties.

The board of St. Francis School in Manoa said the entire school could close if enrollment goals are not met.

The school chose to continue teaching preschool through sixth grade rather than reduce services for all students, board chairman Randall Yee said in a letter. The decision to drop the upper grades was not easy, he said.

“Every resource and opportunity was considered and discussed at length,” Yee said. “Despite our best efforts, it became apparent that the school would not be able to continue to operate all grade levels at the same high-quality level after this academic year.”

Of the 447 students enrolled in the school, about 315 are in the middle and high schools.

The school opened more than 90 years ago as an all-girls high school. Lower grades were added in the early 1990s, and it began admitting boys in 2006.

“The Sisters of Saint Francis of the Neumann Communities have been very generous over the years in financially assisting the school, but can no longer afford to do so after this year,” Yee said.

St. Francis’ tuition for high school is among the lowest in the state at $13,000 a year. Its middle school tuition is $11,200. The cost of educating each student is about $18,000 a year, according to school officials.

“If enrollment targets are not met and we are forced to permanently cease operations for all grade levels, an announcement will be made by March 31, 2019,” Yee said. “We are working to avoid this if at all possible.”


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