Saint Raphael Catholic school in Springdale started their pre-school and pre-kindergarten programs back in 2004. It was so successful, they expanded in 2007 to include Kindergarten through 3rd and added a grade level each year. But when the economy took a tumble shortly after, so did they.
It was a struggle from the start.
"Pretty much since the inception of the school it's been a loss every year," Father John Connell with St.Raphael Catholic Church said.
Since 2007, the Catholic Elementary School in Springdale has dipped into savings.
"Each year those funds were a little bit lower," school principal Karen LaMendola said.
Since then, LaMendola has struggled to make those ends meet.
"Our school, our families could not afford the amount that we need to have them pay to run a quality program. The church of course always helps and supports the school as all Catholic schools do," she said.
But quickly, the church couldn't handle the needs of the school either.
"Definitely my parish has been effected by the economic downturn. The parish collections also have taken a big hit," Connell said.
A hit, Father Connell believes has most effected his parish demographic.
"Our parish is 85 percent Latino and many of them cannot afford to have their children in the school," he said.
An independant research firm shows 30 percent of Latinos in Arkansas are under the poverty line.
"They want to support but can't support as much money as they used to be able to," LaMendola said.
So now, come the end of May Kindergarten through 7th grade classes will end for good.
"Nothing prepares you as a priest to close a school," Connell said.
But the congregation knows closing the school is a sacrifice to keep their church afloat.
"You never know what God is going to provide in the future," LaMendola said.
"We're going to miss it," Connell said.
There will be only one private Catholic school open in Northwest Arkansas.
However this isn't the end of the school. The pre-school and pre-kindergarten programs will stay open and they hope to expand it to a year-round school for three and four year old's.
The school will have two more major fundraisers this year to help alleviate the deficit. Check out their website for more information on how to help.