St. Joseph's Episcopal School to close, leaving students in limbo

'We're blindsided,' parent says
St. Joseph's Episcopal Church & School sign in Boynton Beach
Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-25 23:03:42-04

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Parents of students at a Boynton Beach private school are just now learning it will close at the end of this school year, leaving their children in limbo for next fall.

"We don’t know if we're coming back here. We don't know if it's over. We don't know anything," parent Kelly Alexander said.

Students at St. Joseph's Episcopal School were forced to leave after their property owner and neighbor, St. Joseph's Episcopal Church, decided not to renew the school's lease. Parents protested over the weekend.

"As a parent, we're stunned. We're blindsided. It breaks our hearts for our kids," Alexander said.

Alexander has been bringing her son to school at St. Joseph's since before he could even walk.

"It is a place where there is thoughtful learning and leadership," Alexander said.

That is until they received an email from school officials saying there would be no new lease. The school's property is owned by the church. The reason for the non-renewal remains unknown.

"How can anyone, let alone a church, stand in the way of these children, this community's chance for an education?" history teacher Pat Coyle said.

Coyle is also concerned with what is next for himself and other faculty and staff.

"I'm worried, sure. Because of the uncertainty," Coyle said. "It was not anything that we expected. It was not our choice."

An email from the church's public relations team said the school has been unresponsive to a request to meet with a mediator to hammer out a resolution.

School leaders disputed that claim, saying the board has tried to talk to church leaders since February about the lease.

The school board is having a meeting Monday night to discuss its next steps. Parents are also meeting to see what else they can do to keep the school open.