Redeemer Lutheran School, a fixture in Glendale for more than 60 years, will be shutting its doors when the current school year ends this June due to low enrollment and high cost of repairs to the building.
It’s the last surviving Lutheran elementary school in western Queens. Two other Lutheran schools — Our Saviour Lutheran in Rego Park and St. John’s Lutheran in Glendale — closed during the previous decade. The closest Lutheran school is now the Lutheran School of Flushing and Bayside; Martin Luther School, a Lutheran school in Maspeth, offers classes from grades six through 12.
School officials urged parents of children entering grades six through eight in September to consider enrolling in Martin Luther School. Parents of children in the younger grades may opt to enroll in other nearby Catholic schools including St. Matthias Catholic Academy in Ridgewood, Sacred Heart Catholic Academy in Glendale and St. Margaret Catholic Academy in Middle Village.
On Monday, April 9, Sacred Heart and Martin Luther provided the Redeemer community with information packets about enrolling children for September.
“It is with a heavy heart that [we] tell you that Redeemer Lutheran School will not reopen this fall,” the school wrote in an official statement on its Facebook page. “God has blessed our little school with over 60 years of Christian education. Please pray for our students, faculty and staff as they face a new chapter in their lives. We are choosing to celebrate the many years we have had as a family. Thank you to all who have supported our school.”
Enrollment at Redeemer dropped steadily in recent years, with about 120 students enrolled in the current school year. As attendance dropped, sources familiar with the situation said, debt increased to about $300,000, much of it due to the need for corrective repairs designed to meet city regulations.
Principal Michael Williams spoke to QNS in December about a botched repair job to the boiler, which caused the school to incur fines from the city Department of Buildings. The contractor was not easily tracked down to complete the work properly.
Originally costing $75,000, Redeemer was left with no choice but to turn to GoFundMe to raise at $30,000 for the boiler which produced between 25 to 90 percent of the school’s heat, Williams said. The GoFundMe campaign raised close to $5,000.
“There were some compliance issues that were pointed out by the DOB on inspection, one of them being that the new boiler was not registered with the DOB, which is a requirement,” Williams told QNS in December. “Most plumbers don’t want to touch it because they didn’t officially work on it, so that’s what we find to be the biggest challenge.”
When QNS reached out to the plumbing company used by the school, they could not be reached.
Redeemer Lutheran School, located at 69-26 Cooper Ave., offers pre-K through middle school classes and has been in the community since 1955. They may, however, continue offering Universal Pre-K in the 2019-20 school year, as it is funded through the city.
Robert Pozarycki contributed to this report.