Central Lutheran School in St. Paul looks to raise $450K to stay open

It's been struggling because of dwindling enrollment.
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A private school in St. Paul has launched a campaign to raise $450,000, because dwindling enrollment has put it at risk of closure.

Central Lutheran School, a parochial pre-K through 8th Grade school on Lexington Parkway, is struggling to meeting the $950,000 budget that pays for the five full-time and two part-time teachers it employs.

This past week has seen it launch a $450,000 campaign on GoFundMe, that it says would allow the school to retire its debt and build a "strong foundation for the future."

"We are in deep financial trouble," the page reads. "In order to pay our faculty, staff, and many bills, we must raise lots of money quickly."

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The school's roots date back to 1861, when Trinity Lutheran School opened its doors in St. Paul, before a branch school opened a few miles to the west.

This branch school would eventually become incorporated as Central Lutheran School in 1942, before it moved to its current, Lexington Parkway site in 1951.

It's now operated by Bethal Lutheran, Jehovah Lutheran, and St. Stephanus Lutheran Churches, but has struggled to meet its costs because more and more of its students now receive financial aid.

The Pioneer Press reports the parents of only five students pay the full, $10,000 tuition fee, with the rest qualifying for grants and scholarships that reduces the income from tuition to around $3,500 per student.

In its GoFundMe page, CLS says its dwindling enrollment mirrors similar struggles suffered by faith-based schools around the country.

It has only survived this far "by God's grace," it says, though the Pioneer Press notes that its teachers have been taking lower pay to keep the school open.

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