Sadly, we note the decision of Linden Hill’s trustees to close the school at the end of the academic year in June.
Linden Hill occupied a unique niche in the boarding school world working with middle and high school boys with attention issues and learning differences in a small, personal, family style setting.
Linden Hill head, James McDaniel laid bare the reality in his letter to the community announcing and explaining the decision. In an amazing detailed and honest letter, McDaniel explains that Linden had come up against some economic gulfs that the Linden Hill family was unable to bridge.
I share these excerpts, but I recommend reading McDaniel’s letter in its entirety:
…It is well documented over the course of the past several years that Linden Hill School has experienced lower enrollment causing reduced tuition revenues against our total operating costs. Our school was already burdened with extraordinary debt and could ill afford the dramatic decline in revenues…
We came to the understanding that our need for fundraising each year was growing at a rate that would exceed our small community’s ability to respond. We were, in short, rapidly approaching an inevitable closing of the school for lack of funds. We responded to this stark reality directly during the summer of 2011 to critically examine (1) our place in the LD/ADHD middle school market, (2) our programs to meet our population’s needs, (3) our staff’s skill sets to provide services to this population at the highest level and, finally, (4) our overall business model for sustainability. We came to the ultimate conclusion that we must take bold steps if we were going to have any chance of saving the school. At the same time, we recognized that those steps might not save the school. Nonetheless, making some dramatic changes was our only hope, however slim, of survival.
…Despite this effort and given the extreme pressure on the fundraising efforts and donors themselves over the past several years, it became increasingly evident that that we have exhausted the ability of our constituents to rescue the school from the ravages of a depressed economy and our significant enrollment declines. Recognizing this, the Board of Trustees determined that the current and projected expense of keeping Linden Hill School open is more than our community could bear or risk. Thus, the Board has voted to close Linden Hill after the end of this school year, June 8, 2012.
…Each year, we forged ahead and made ends meet, rising and falling with each student lost or big gift received struggling to close huge gaps annually between tuition revenues and expenses. The cumulative effect of this existence was deleterious to our ability to provide the best of staffing and to maintain the highest consistency of expectation for each member of the community. Yet, despite it all, we opened and closed each school year having helped our boys along in their lives, thanks to the courage of our faculty, board, and parents.
We are deeply saddened that we must make this decision regarding a school that has helped so many fine young men and their families. Our tradition has been a proud one as the oldest junior boarding school in America for boys with learning differences. We hope that through each of us who has been affiliated with our school, its legacy will live on.
Peace be with all of you as you carry forth the legacy of Linden Hill School.
James A. McDaniel