Twelve years ago, an idea was sparked that maybe, two all-male private schools separated by a river could merge, cutting costs for students' parents and combining services to provide the same quality education as each school's reputation promised.
But on Tuesday, Oct. 20, the boards of both Christian Brothers Academy, in Loudonville, and La Salle Institute, in Troy, decided against the idea, going back to the drawing board to try and figure out how the schools would be able to run separately when enrollments are decreasing and operations are becoming increasingly more costly.
The boards have been meeting for over a year, both publicly and privately, discussing a merger, which they said would potentially help the financial burdens each school has been facing for a number of years. But as the boards quickly learned after several town-hall-style meetings, a majority of alumni, students and parents were strongly against the idea of combining, claiming that the schools to which they had ties would lose their identities in the event of a merger.
Both boards are kind of responding to the parents' wishes, said James Schlegel, principal of CBA on Wednesday, Oct. 21. "The parents feel that the challenges can be met."
Those challenges could potentially now be forced upon the parents who pay tuition to the schools, though Schlegel said a tuition increase has not yet been discussed, though it is in the back of many parents' minds.
"We're going to look at every possible way to defeat the challenges that lie ahead," Schlegel said. "We haven't looked at next year's tuition yet."
Many parents, Schlegel said, have stepped up in offering financial support to the schools-something Schlegel said CBA will be seriously looking into considering the decision not to merge.
"I think a lot of our parents have volunteered, or offered, their support and I think now we're going to be at a point where we organize their efforts," he said.