Lancaster Mennonite School will close Hershey campus in July

HERSHEY — Lancaster Mennonite is closing its Hershey campus due to enrollment decline, the school announced.

“Over four years ago, Lancaster Mennonite school and Hershey Christian school entered into negotiations and a planning process for Lancaster Mennonite to acquire Hershey Christian,” the school said in a statement. “The enrollment at the Hershey campus of Lancaster Mennonite has been tenuous since the acquisition.

“After four years of operation, the Lancaster Mennonite Board of Directors, Finance Committee and Administration determined sustainability of the Hershey campus of Lancaster Mennonite is no longer viable due to enrollment decline.”

The Hershey campus will close at the end of the 2018-19 school year, Lancaster Mennonite said.

The closure is part of a transition to a sustainable financial model for Lancaster Mennonite, which said it has experienced declining enrollment for more than 10 years.

“We acknowledge the positive influence and history of Hershey Christian and LM in the lives of alumni and current students,” said Pam Tieszen, LM Superintendent, in a statement. “Dedicated teachers and staff prepared students and gave a gift that will continue to live on. Lives have been shaped and transformed.”

The sustainable model for the future includes a healthy endowment that creates a solid foundation for New Danville (ND), Locust Grove (LG), Lancaster Mennonite Middle School (LMMS), and Lancaster Mennonite High School (LMH).

Tieszen sent a letter to parents and alumni of the Hershey campus, which appears in full below:

Dear Alumni & Parents of Alumni of the Hershey campus of LM,

Over four years ago, Lancaster Mennonite (LM) and Hershey Christian School entered into negotiations and a planning process for Lancaster Mennonite to acquire Hershey Christian.  When purchased the Hershey campus had a substantial amount of debt. It was reduced some, but still carries a large amount of debt. The LM system carries other debt, and the reduction of debt is a necessary focus at this time.

Hershey enrollment has been tenuous since the acquisition, and the re-enrollment numbers for next year continued a downward trend.  Lancaster Mennonite has experienced enrollment decline for over 10 years and is in the process of creating a sustainable financial model for the future.

On March 13, 2019, the Lancaster Mennonite Board of Directors, Finance Committee and Administration determined sustainability of the Hershey campus of Lancaster Mennonite is no longer viable due to enrollment decline, and the LM system is unable to sustain the current financial support of Hershey. As of July 2019, the Hershey campus of Lancaster Mennonite will be closing.

We acknowledge the positive influence and history of Hershey Christian and LM in the lives of alumni and current students.  Dedicated teachers and staff prepared students and gave a gift that will continue to live on. Lives have been shaped and transformed.  The years of Hershey Christian and the LM Hershey campus have yielded gifts exponentially times the number of students and staff impacted by the years of attendance and service.

The Annual Auction for the Hershey campus will be held Saturday, April 6, 2019 with all proceeds going to benefit the faculty and teachers of the Hershey campus. This event will also be a chance to celebrate the history of transformed lives in students and alumni at the Hershey campus – Learn more.

We are so thankful for all that have been a part of this community! And we hope you will join the Hershey Campus on April 6 to support faculty and staff, and celebrate together.

We are doing our best to support faculty, staff, students and parents during this difficult time. Please be keeping in prayer the Hershey faculty and staff, and that doors will open for job opportunities; Grant them peace in this time of change and transition. In addition, please pray for Hershey families who will need to consider other options for their children.

Administration will do its best to respond to questions as they arise.  There are many details to work through as the end of the year approaches.

General questions or concerns, you can direct them to me, the Superintendent, Pam Tieszen email:tieszenpk@lancastermennonite.org or phone: (717) 740-2422.

Sincerely,

Pam Tieszen, Ed.D.

LM Superintendent

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