Wilton’s Our Lady of Fatima Academy urgently seeks $140K to keep school open
WILTON — “We’ve had very good response so far,” Kevin Vallerie said to Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Academy’s efforts to close a $140,000 funding gap by June 25. Vallerie, who is an alum of the school and president of its board of directors said donations have been coming in through a GoFundMe site, via PayPal or Venmo, and by people bringing checks to the school itself.
“They have raised a significant amount of money,” he said.
While Vallerie did not have a tally available for the day, more than $6,000 has been raised on the GoFundMe site less than a day after it went live.
The shortfall was caused by the cancellation of traditional fundraising efforts due to the coronavirus pandemic, Vallerie said, which has also played havoc with the school’s student recruitment.
Specifically, the school’s annual gala could not be held and its Something Special Thrift Shop had to close. Both are major sources of income for Our Lady of Fatima.
In recruiting students, because the school was closed no tours or other events could be held.
Principal Stanley Steele described the funding gap as “not insurmountable” in the context of the school’s total operating budget.
“Once that shortfall is met, and the budget is in line with our enrollment, we will have a balanced budget going forward.”
Vallerie confirmed that if the funding can be raised, the school can open in the fall with the number of students now enrolled and continue its recruitment process over the summer.
“We’ll know within the next nine days,” he said when asked if the school might actually have to close.
Our Lady of Fatima transitioned to an academy model beginning with the 2019-20 school year, meaning its governance and financial management are provided by an academy board with oversight from the Diocese of Bridgeport.
The school encompasses pre-kindergarten through eighth grade and offers offers a “Personalized Approach to Learning” platform with small classrooms and instruction based on individual student needs.
Contributions may be made on the school’s website at https://www.olfacademy.org/apps/pages/DONATE.