AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School to Close

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PASADENA — In a letter posted online last week, the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School board announced that the school will close as of next year.

“After extensive consideration of a number of factors and, most importantly, thinking about the best interests of our students, we have decided to combine the AGBU Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School (MHS) with our sister AGBU Manoogian-Demirjian School (MDS) on the Canoga Park campus at the end of this school year,” the letter noted.

The board went on to enumerate the reasons for their decision, while noting that they understand there would be questions.

Among the factors they cite declining enrollment and increasing deficits.

“Since its inception, regardless of enrollment numbers, the school has been heavily subsidized by AGBU and the Manoukian Foundation. Those subsidies have grown significantly every year, nearing almost $2 million this past year, alone. With its policy of keeping tuition affordable, the $7,980 tuition covers only about a third of the $20,000 per student cost. AGBU and the Manoukian Foundation have been subsidizing each student between $10,000 and $13,000, annually. There has also been a steadily increasing demand for financial aid. Given its commitment to maintaining high academic standards and attracting the best quality teachers, MHS is facing a financial reality that has become untenable,” the letter added.

The resources, they suggested could be better used to provide quality education while  investing in the local community.

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“We respect the strong attachment to MHS and the school community, and all it has offered your children. We truly believe MDS will continue to offer these same values and cultural traditions. With an even more robust and excellent educational experience, MDS offers a dynamic learning environment, a significantly larger student body population, many of whom are friends with MHS students, and considerably more resources for students than MHS,” according to the letter.

The MHS board members and administrators will hold a School Placement Fair on Tuesday, November 5 following the scheduled Parent Teacher Conferences, where families can meet with representatives of MDS and a number of other high schools. Further details will follow in a separate correspondence.

 

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