The Closure of Pasadena’s Vatche and Tamar Manoukian High School was Conveyed in an Email
The Armenian General Benevolent Union, citing declining enrollment and increased deficit, has announced that it will 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 decision was conveyed to the MHS community in an email on Friday afternoon from the AGBU Central Board, the Manoukian Foundation and the MHS Board, explaining the reasons for the decision.
“Despite the best efforts of the MHS community, the school has seen stagnant with declining enrollment for several years. We are very thankful to our administration, faculty and staff for their dedication and devotion to the school. Even with concentrated marketing, we have had disappointing results, reflecting a lower community demand, overall, for full-time private Armenian education,” said the letter to the parents obtained by Asbarez.
“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,” explained the letter.
The AGBU leadership explained that MHS campus, located in Pasadena, into a cultural center.
“AGBU and the Manoukian Foundation remain committed to providing members of the broader Los Angeles community enhanced opportunities to learn and celebrate our beautiful culture. Combining our two schools allows the Canoga Park campus to focus on excellent traditional education, and creates an opportunity to convert the Pasadena campus into a community and cultural center, anchored by the recently completed state of the art Performing Arts Center, which can be used by the entire community, especially our young people,” said AGBU in the letter.
“The process of redesigning and eventually reconstructing this state of the art cultural hub will be undertaken with the community’s direct input and underwritten by AGBU and the Manoukian Foundation. AGBU has had such centers for generations in countries across the globe, and it is imperative for Los Angeles to have such a center, as well. Among the ideas for what the center can offer are programs in information technology, robotics and engineering classes, music, dance, art, and cooking, in addition to continuing the community sports programs and creating meeting and event spaces. We will continue to keep you informed on the developments of this project,” added the AGBU.