Firm Schools in the News

by NYC Firm Schools on March 23, 2009

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Creative Commons License photo credit: neoliminal

Families and educators involved in Firm Schools often pay very close attention to any legal precedents being set in the private school world. In the midst of finding Firm Schools closing down due to financial difficulties, the case of the Conserve School in Wisconsin is making headlines and catching the attention of many.

The NYTimes reported on the story, in which a Private School led by a board of trustees, has announced the decision to close, even though the endowment of the school remains very large. The families with children in the Conserve School are suing the board of trustees.

the headmaster, told them that the trustees were essentially shutting down the prep school because of the dismal economic climate. Its four-year program would be converted to a single semester of study focused on nature and the environment.

Now students and parents are banding together and challenging the action, contending the school’s underlying financial condition does not look so dire. In fact, the school’s endowment would be the envy of many a prep school. With $181 million and 143 students, it has the equivalent of more than $1 million a student.
In a lawsuit filed in State Circuit Court in Wisconsin, the parents argue that the trustees are acting in their own interests — as officials of a separate, profit-making steel company — and want them removed from oversight of the school.

In an affidavit, he testified that when he asked the headmaster why the trustees did not diversify, Mr. Anderson replied that the trustees did not want to sell below 51 percent of the holdings in the steel company “or they would lose control of the company.”

For the rest of the story on the Conserve School and it’s potentially far-reaching effects on the Private School environment, read the full article on the shutdown of this Private School.

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