The Laurel School, one of San Francisco’s oldest independent schools serving children with special learning needs, announced that it will be closing its doors in June 2020.
The Laurel School opened in 1965, first as a tutorial center, and evolved into a full-day school and 501(c)(3) nonprofit in 1981. It has been in its present location in the Inner Richmond since 1985 and has served hundreds of children with special learning needs in the decades since.
“It is with great sadness that we announce this closure,” said Hal Hensler, Head of School for The Laurel School. “The administration, along with the Board of Trustees, explored every option and fought tirelessly to keep the doors open for children with special learning needs. We are devastated at the loss of this very special school.”
Patricia Hickey, president of The Laurel School Board of Trustees, explained that a combination of declining enrollment and increasing costs forced the board to make this difficult decision.
“Unfortunately,” said Ms. Hickey, “the cost of living and doing business in San Francisco is sky-rocketing. Our enrollment numbers are declining as families leave the city to seek more affordable places to raise their children. At the same time, operating expenses are increasing every day. We got to a point where we just couldn’t keep up.”
The Laurel School will continue to operate until the end of the 2019-2020 school year. The staff is focused on supporting student and family transitions and helping teachers in their search for new positions.
“We’ve had a great response from the community,” said Mr. Hensler, “Other independent schools and the San Francisco Unified School District have really stepped up to help accommodate Laurel students. We’re so grateful for everyone’s support.”
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