Lake Tahoe Unified School District prepares for an influx as Saint Theresa School closes

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Updated: 7/02/2014 9:02 pm

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. ( & KRNV) -- South Lake Tahoe’s Saint Theresa School is closing its doors after almost 30 years of educating Tahoe students.

54 children were enrolled at the K-8 school last year, and only 34 have registered for classes in 2014-15.

Saint Theresa Church Priest Murrough Wallace said the school has reached its breaking point. "The diocese decided after a number of years, we cannot do it anymore."

The school closed down once before in 1968. Wallace transferred to Saint Theresa Church in 1993 and re-opened school doors the next year.

On Wednesday, he was looking at the classrooms as he first did two decades ago. "It’s not a reflection of the community. I think it is a reflection on the lack of jobs and the lack of jobs with decent wages."

Wallace said annual tuition is around $4,000 per student and most Tahoe parents cannot afford the fees anymore.

The Lake Tahoe Unified School District enrolls around 300 K-5 students annually, and Superintendent Dr. James Tarwater said elementary and middle schools can accommodate for more students. "They’ll be scattered throughout. Middle school, there is plenty of room, the school has been one thousand and there’s about 830 now."

K-3 classrooms max out at 22 students each, while upper-grade classes can reach up to 32. Tarwater said sustaining these numbers could be a challenge, but he is willing to hire more teachers for the kids.

So far, only one Saint Theresa parent has contacted the Lake Tahoe Unified School District about enrolling children for next school year.

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