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Catholic School Closing?

Newport, Vermont - November 30, 2005

Sacred Heart School opened in Newport more than 50 years ago-- a family tradition for many in the community. Now, it may have to close.

"We're in the 11th hour and the school could be closed by the holidays," says Norman Limoges.

Limoges drives his two kids 25 minutes to and from the school from their home in Westfield.

"We're forced now to find another school of this caliber for our kids in this area. That could be tough," says Limoges.

School officials hope it won't come to that. But they admit the school is facing tough times financially.

"We had a pretty good carryover of a deficit from last year, and this year we had fewer students than anticipated, and with the huge increase in heating oil, suddenly we see ourselves with a huge budget deficit," explains school board member Tracy Jarvis.

The deficit is estimated at $125,000. Right now, the school has only 70 students in preschool through 8th grade. Tuition doesn't cover the costs.

Wednesday night, they held a meeting to talk about the problem.

"I don't know what I'm going to tell my fourth grader who has been working very hard to be a part of this family. It's not just a school, it's a family," says parent Lisa Thomas.

The school is asking people to donate the $125,000 it needs to keep the school open. Some said that's not a solution.

"In the long run that is a Band-Aid. It is not fixing the problem. It is putting a finger in the dyke," says parent and former student Mike Coutu.

"Bake sales are not going to raise that kind of money," says Limoges.

The school is asking parents and the community to submit pledge sheets before Christmas break begins. They'll decide then whether they have the financial support to keep the doors open.

Parents we talked to said this is probably the third time in the past decade this issue has come up at the school. In fact, Sacred Heart closed its high school in 1988.

Kate Duffy - Channel 3 News

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