La Reina Academy will not open, officials say




Acorn file photo
Over 200 students, parents and alumnae of La Reina High School gathered in front of the Thousand Oaks school to protest the closing on Feb. 4. Now, officials behind efforts to create a new school face funding issues with looming deadlines.

Update: Officials announced in a May 11 newsletter and social media post that La Reina Academy will not be opening. They said they were unable to reach their desired enrollment target and with fewer than 100 students, they were not able to build a viable budget. 

 

 

Despite months-long efforts to enroll enough students and raise enough money to open a new campus, the fate of La Reina Academy will come down to an overnight influx of $1.5 million, according to the latest communication from the school.

A newsletter sent the evening of Wed., May 8 said the school had to raise that amount by the morning of May 10. As of press time on May 9, the school had collected $100,000 of the $1.5 million in pledges.

“We will only collect pledges if we proceed with La Reina Academy,” a May 9
newsletter stated. “We will be making that decision this week.”

This contradicted previous messaging by the school’s board of directors that the
school was fully funded and the academy’s website, which says the school will, in fact, be open in the fall.

The team working toward creating the all-girls middle and high school—modeled
after the Thousand Oaks Catholic school that unexpectedly announced its impending closure in January—entered escrow on the former Pinecrest School
property at 14100 Peach Hill Road in Moorpark on March 29 after paying a $250,000 deposit.

The group initially sought an investor to purchase the roughly $7 million property
that the new school would lease, but leadership more recently said La Reina Academy wants to own itself outright to avoid another unexpected closure. Escrow is set to close May 15.

Wednesday’s newsletter was not the first time officials appeared to contradict
themselves.

On April 30, officials said the group had not yet secured the money needed to purchase the property and the team would know whether the school would open by May 5.

In an email sent to the
 Acorn two days later, school officials, asking for an update to a May 3 article about the status of the proposed school, said the school is a “green light” and funding had been secured.

A May 6 newsletter to the La Reina community, however, stated otherwise.

“Right now the light is yellow—help us turn it green,” the newsletter said. 

The letter explained at least 40 more students had to enroll by May 8 in order to secure the property and open.

Another newsletter sent the afternoon of May 8 stated that 25 more students
needed to enroll by midnight to “hit the green light.”

As of press time, La Reina Academy had not announced if it had achieved its goal of
100 students—a significantly lower number than the school’s initial enrollment goal of 160.

La Reina Academy officials repeatedly declined interview requests.

This article was updated at 1:15 p.m. May 9 to reflect information received after publication deadline.