GUTHRIE, Okla. (KFOR) –The oldest Catholic school in Oklahoma Territory is at risk of closing its doors.
“St. Mary was the first Catholic school in Oklahoma Territory,” said Leah Kostiuk, a parent.
Kostiuk has been shuttling kids to and from St. Mary Catholic School in Guthrie for 16 years.
"We moved here because of this school, and I'm so emotionally attached,” said Kostiuk.
But in May, it could all come to an end.
"We got an email last week saying that a decision had been made to close the doors after this year,” said Kostiuk.
Parents received word that the school was facing a $100,000 budget shortfall.
“I’ve just been crying a lot, and the teachers are trying to scramble too. Are they going to have a job? Do they need to find another job?”
Leaders of the church say they've been relying for years on parish financial savings to plug school deficit, but the money is running out.
Longtime parents are now watching as the church tries to pull together.
“"Like all small private schools, to my knowledge, we've always struggled with money, every year. We've always found a way to keep it going, and I believe and hope that we will this year too,” said Green.
Now, unless the community can raise $100,000 by June 1 of this year, the school will only be able to withstand continuing Pre-K classes.
"Guthrie is such a small town to pull from, and even though everyone wants it to stay open, Guthrie doesn't always have the funds to pitch in a whole lot,” said Kostiuk.
In addition to the $100,000, the school also needs to have 90 students enrolled, with non-refundable enrollment fees paid.
The Archdiocese in Oklahoma City sent News 4 the following statement regarding the potential closure:
“The school is well-respected in Guthrie and we're heartened by the support of the community, which has rallied to do all they can to meet the financial and enrollment goals needed to keep more grades available this fall. We are hopeful they will succeed and meet the challenge.”Archdiocese in Oklahoma City
If you would like to donate to the school, you can do so by clicking here.