Mobile’s historically Black Catholic school is closing its doors for good, board Chairman Jack McNichol confirmed in a phone interview with Lagniappe Friday morning.
Heart of Mary School will officially close at the end of the school’s fiscal year in July, McNichol said, which would give faculty, staff and the institution’s 74 students time to decide on their future.
“We’ve been trying for a long time to keep the school going,” he said. “We just have not had enough support to keep it going.”
Schools need two things, students and money. While the school’s enrollment had increased in 2021 by 12, it wasn’t enough to keep the school running, McNichol said.
“It takes a lot of money to run a school like this and we absolutely need students,” he said.
Since taking over as board chairman at a time three years ago when the school was already on the verge of shuttering, McNichol said he and the new board made changes they had hoped would lead to greater success, but other a portion of the board’s strategic plan was implemented before the financial reality of the situation came to bear.
“We tried to give it a shot,” he said. “We were supported by a number of people, but not enough people.”
As for the students, McNichol said there are a number of Catholic schools in the city in need of students
“There’s a desk for everyone,” he said. “The Catholic education will continue.”
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