HOWE, Ind. (WNDU) - School leaders at Howe Military Academy are speaking out about what’s next for their cadets after they announced Monday that they will close their doors at the end of this school year.
The board of trustees made the decision to close the military academy because the bottom line is that the academy hasn’t been able to enroll enough students to financially sustain itself.
But there are parents who are already working to save the school.
“We’ve tried and worked on several things to try and enhance the financial situation, but basically, we’re at a point now where we just can’t continue,” said Col. Thomas Tate, the president of Howe Military Academy.
Tate said the academy has been struggling for the last decade, and since he’s taken over in the last year and a half, he’s looked at the possibility of making the academy a charter school in order to save it. However, they lack the funding to do so.
“We just do not have the revenue to continue to grow,” Tate said.
“My daughter called me crying, because this was our school of choice,” Kristen Thomas said. “We came all the way from Oregon to be here.”
Thomas says her daughter set her sights on Howe Military Academy when she was 12 years old, and that enrolling in the school this year was a dream come true.
“A lot of the families are very hurt and confused, and we are defying this,” Thomas said. “We are fighting this, we are going to try to come up with the money.”
Tate said a minimum of $3 million would open up the possibility of the academy moving forward, but school leaders would need to consider the long-term finances.
“What the board doesn’t want to do, what I really don’t want to do, is we go survive another year,” Tate said. “No, we don’t want to do that. If we’re going to be here, we’re going to be here real time and we’re going to kick it.”
Thomas says $5 million would get the school back on its feet and she and other parents encourage any investor who wants “have a legacy” to invest in Howe Military Academy.
Parents plan to reach out to President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for help, saying Trump himself attended a military academy in New York.