By Syma Chowdhry
BURLINGTON, NJ (CBS) — Saint Paul elementary school in Burlington is on the verge of closing its doors.
The parish subsidizing the 144-year-old school can no longer afford the expense.
Now the school is trying to raise $250,000 by January 15th.
“The money is just not there anymore, so we have to raise the money to just stay afloat,” said Principal William Robins. “The original shock was ‘oh no…’ and then it was ‘Oh…no!’ We are not going to let this happen.”
The school will remain open until June, but the next school year is in jeopardy.
Robbins is keeping a positive attitude. “We believe we are going to do it, six weeks or not, we can do it.”
PTA Co-President Kerri Chewning explained, “My daughter said, ‘we have to do something.’ Absolutely, we are already planning to do something.”
Saint Paul’s is the only school Chewning’s two children have known.
She and other parents will host fundraisers, hoping to spread the word.
“We are looking for people, not only for the exposure or donations,” she explained. “But also to let people know what a wonderful school it is, so we can get more kids in the door, because if the enrollment goes up then the subsidy goes down.”
Parents and students are hoping for a Christmas miracle. Some students are foregoing toys and asking Santa for a donation instead.
Chewning’s daughter and 5th grader, Madison, said, “We just know that the money for school is more important than a couple of extra Christmas presents.”
Chewning added, “I think it really demonstrates to people just how much this school means to our kids if they are willing to give up Christmas presents.”
So far, the school has raised about $25,000.
The donations are tax deductible and any donation $50 or more will be returned if the goal is not met.
But if that happens, the students will have to find a new school, something Madison doesn’t want to see happen. “I don’t want to have to start at a new school where I don’t know anybody and the teachers don’t know me. It just wouldn’t be the same.”
Now, they are praying to save this school.
“There is such a thing as a Christmas Miracle,” said Robbins.
To donate, log onto: http://www.savestpaulschool.com/
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