Rockland Country Day School in Congers will close on August 31 and not offer classes this fall. Here is a statement from the school about its decision to close its doors after 60 years.
We are heartbroken to announce that Rockland Country Day School will close at the end of August 2019. Despite the efforts we have made over the last several years, and most particularly this past summer, economic factors beyond our control make it impossible to open for this 2019-20 academic year.
Despite much hard work, fundraising efforts have not netted sufficient participation or philanthropy among alumni, current families and local supporters, and continued efforts to boost enrollment have not brought in enough new local or international students. We tried a number of strategies to raise funds, repurchase the campus, and boost enrollment and, either they were insufficient or there wasn’t/isn’t enough time to complete them. Finally, the recent decision of some families to withdraw after committing to enroll their children for the Fall, had a negative impact on the ability to create a balanced budget.
Until August 12, 2019, we were continuing to work on solutions to ongoing challenges. Major initiatives to effect positive change included working on possible sites for a physical move, vigorously pursuing philanthropy and admissions, exploring potential alliances with other educational institutions, and working with admissions consultants to gain a sufficient number of domestic and international students for our boarding program.
This announcement is no small decision, knowing that students must now find new schools and faculty and staff need to find new employment. However, without an ability to afford to finish out another school year, it would be irresponsible to open the doors in September. We have engaged legal counsel to help guide us through this complex circumstance with which we have no experience.
The school is committed to assisting families, teachers, and staff with the transition. We have visited and spoken with several local schools who, with varying commitments, have offered open houses, expedited enrollment, and student and family support.
RCDS has a treasured place in our hearts, and it is painful that circumstances dictate its closing. This is part of an unfortunate trend reflecting the state of educational economics for many small institutions without endowment, significant donors and/or significant government funding.
We are proud of all that RCDS has meant to the students, families, and wonderful teachers and staff over the years. We wish we had better news, but the school’s closure is not for a lack of trying. Our hearts are heavy.
Rockland Country Day School was established in 1959 by a group of local community leaders, led by Prof. Charles Frankel of Columbia University. Originally located in South Nyack, the school moved to Congers when it outgrew its original location. The school had prided itself on having a 7-1 student/teacher ratio.