HOPE Christian Schools closing high school in Milwaukee, citing funding and staff shortage

HOPE Christian
Posted at 12:31 PM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 18:38:32-05

MILWAUKEE — Facing inadequate state funding and a teacher shortage, HOPE Christian Schools has decided to close their high school in Milwaukee and focus on serving 5th-8th grade students starting at the end of this school year.

HOPE said in a statement Friday that funding from the state of Wisconsin has been "significantly inadequate" to support high-quality education. And they further cited an on-going shortage of teachers, an issue only accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We are committed to working with HOPE Christian High School scholars to ensure the best outcomes possible for this school year and their future education and career path. We will also support our dedicated faculty and staff at the high school through various means including helping them secure other job opportunities within the HOPE network," according to their statement.

News that high school is closing caught families by surprise.

"Now it's like where do I go from here," parent Raven Griggs wondered.

Griggs has two sons at HOPE Christian High School.

The sophomores just started at the school and Griggs said they are doing well in class and on the basketball team. However, they all just found out that the high school is closing at the end of the year.

"This is a big deal for them, and it's like where you go next year if you can't be with the same kids from the same school. It's like starting over. Nobody wants to keep starting over," Griggs said.

HOPE Christian High School is a choice school. According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, HOPE Christian High School enrolled 262 students this year. The school received an average of $2.3 million of state aid yearly in the last five years. This year the state spent $8,982 per student in 9th-12th grades, a number that has only gone up in the last six years.

TMJ4 reached out to the high school, but was were told officials were not available for interviews.

In the meantime, parents like Griggs feel the rush to figure out what to do next.

"I can't spend time wasting. I have to like urgently do it," Griggs said.

HOPE continued in their announcement that they are planning several expansion projects, including growing their regional offices and training space. They also said they recently finished a strategic growth plan that will begin this year. They said the plan includes "greater allocation of resources toward its growing of academically successful K-8 schools and investment in staff development."

According to the EdWeek Research Center, more than half of principals surveyed said they closed schools during the latest COVID-19 surge because they did not have enough teachers and staff.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the number of education job openings rose by almost 75% last fall compared to the fall of 2020.

Read HOPE's announcement below:

Report a typo or error // Submit a news tip

Coronavirus in Wisconsin

More data on Wisconsin's vaccination progress here.

Find a vaccination site here.

Check out county-by-county coronavirus case numbers here.

More information: COVID-19 on the Wisconsin DHS website

Latest news and headlines here.