Immaculate Heart of Mary School Threatened with Closure

"Save our School" and GoFundMe page to raise critical funding
By: Immaculate Heart Academy
WAYNE, N.J. - May 28, 2024 - PRLog -- "Save our School" and GoFundMe page to raise critical funding

Wayne, NJ, May 28, 2024—After successfully educating children of many faiths in North Jersey for six decades, Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic School is faced with closure.  The causes are predictable: rising costs, a decline in parish contributions since the Covid pandemic, and a drop in enrollment precipitated by fears that the school might close.

The parish announced the decision suddenly in mid-May, after the Diocese of Paterson affirmed it was unable to provide support to keep the school going.

But parents of the 120 children immediately rallied to raise emergency funds and keep the school going.  Their message: this is a referendum on Catholic education in New Jersey.  "We asking our supporters to vote on Catholic education by visiting our GoFundMe page and lending monetary support.  If the Catholic Church allows this school to close after so many decades of success, the Church may as well throw in the towel on Catholic education," according to Richard Heckelmann, a parishioner, organizer and spokesman for IHM Save our School.  "They can't let schools keep declining."

Heckelmann explained that Immaculate Heart of Mary School is the last of five parish schools in Wayne.  One by one, they have all closed as costs have steadily risen for salaries, upkeep and infrastructure.    The Diocese of Paterson, which oversees all Catholic schools in Passaic, Morris and Sussex County, does not provide funding for local schools and leaves them dependent on the parishes.  Heckelmann explained that the parish successfully supported the school for years until the Covid pandemic caused a sudden drop in donations.

"The sad part," Heckelmann said, "is that this school serves children from a wide radius around Wayne, reaching nearby towns and into Bergen County."  He added, "So the parish provides the Catholic education for parents who live outside our boundaries and pay the tuition.  We welcome the students but recognize we need greater help."

"So we are calling our fundraising campaign a 'referendum' on Catholic education in the state and are asking people throughout New Jersey to provide support for the year ahead," Heckelmann said.  "We are asking the many people in this state and region who have benefited from the discipline and quality of Catholic education to help us achieve our goal.  We know from test scores and the success of our graduates that we provide high quality education, but tuition alone is not enough. And we know we relieve pressure on the local public schools, which are crowded."

IHM Save our School's immediate goal is to raise $500,000 and gain a commitment from Paterson Diocese to backstop the school for one more year as it begins a marketing campaign to increase enrollment.  In addition to the GoFundMe page the effort includes direct appeals to alumni and surrounding churches and appeals to wealthy individuals.

Founded in 1959, Immaculate Heart of Mary has offered a superior K-8 Catholic education, integrating STREAM disciplines by bridging Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, while integrating the Arts, and allowing Religion to flow through.  IHM is also the proud recipient of the U.S. Department of Education's Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence.  IHM graduates have year after year gone on to achieve successful academic records in selective high school and colleges and are represented in many professions in Northern New Jersey and surroundings.

Timothy McKenna
Source:Immaculate Heart Academy
Location:Wayne - New Jersey - United States
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