After 130 years in business, a Michiana landmark is in danger of closing. How will Howe Military Academy survive?
“Because we’re a church (Episcopal) school, I believe there’s always hope,” said Superintendent Col. David G. Douglass. “But I also am looking at it from a standpoint that there’s a very strong possibility that yes, we may have to close.”
Two weeks from today, on June 2nd, the school’s board of directors is being asked to decide whether Howe should shut down.
Enrollment is at an all-time low. There are 74 students in grades seven through 12.
In Howe’s heyday in the 1960’s, enrollment peaked around 500.
“For these kids, some of them, it’s really changed their lives around, like my son, he never really fit in in any of his other schools,” said Elkhart resident Lee Stover, whose son Anthony attends Howe. “Walked right into Howe and started making his promotions and medals. It’s the best thing that ever happened to him.”
At this point, Howe needs to raise about $2 million to keep the doors open next academic year.
That’s not out of the question at a school where the annual tuition, with room and board, is about $33,000.
“There’s some efforts going on at the present time to keep the school open, but we do not have a final decision right now,” said Col. Douglass.
If the school does end up closing, it’ll do so with dignity.
“We owe nobody any money and we must keep a certain balance in the bank if we close,” said Col. Douglass. “So that we can take care of the employees with unemployment, close out those contracts that we have, keep the campus presentable as we move along. So I am saying we’re not filing bankruptcy at all.”