Archdiocese allows community to fundraise following Ascension of Our Lord School closure announcement

Published 12:29 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

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On Oct. 16, an announcement was posted to the Archdiocese of New Orleans website announcing the impending closure of Ascension of Our Lord School in LaPlace. Following backlash from parents and staff, the archdiocese has given AOL an opportunity to raise funds in order to keep its doors open.

In the initial announcement, the archdiocese cited the changing demographics of the area and the significant impact of storms and floods in LaPlace as reasons behind the decision to close the school.

Ascension of Our Lord School opened in LaPlace in 1979. At the time of the archdiocese’s announcement, AOL was set to close its doors in May 2024.

A letter signed by Rev. Cyril Buyeera and Principal Addie Vial Melancon was provided to L’OBSERVATEUR outlining the needs of AOL going forward.

“AOL received news of the possibility of its doors not reopening next school year due to budgeting concerns within the Archdiocese of New Orleans coupled with rising insurance rates,” said the letter. “Currently AOL provides educational and religious services for families of 161 students all the while being a home away from home for those students.”

According to the letter, AOL is in need of a total of $500,000 to keep its doors open, with a deadline of Feb. 29, 2024 to obtain the funds. 

In a breakdown of the funds needed, the $500,000 total was split into a $242,000 insurance deductible, $215,000 in quarter-one operating funds and $43,000 in deferred maintenance funds.

“Any nominal donation amount is truly appreciated in this school’s dire time of need,” said the letter. “Should you choose to take the pledge and donate, additional information regarding the school’s tax classification can be provided for write-off purposes.”

According to the pledge campaign sheet provided, donor’s signs will be prominently posted on school property. If for any reason the school fails to reopen for the 2024-2025 school year, all fulfilled pledges will be refunded. For all future years, if the school fails to reopen, only the current and future years’ pledges from that point forward will be refunded.