FLUVANNA COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - A massive fundraising campaign is helping a nonprofit school to stay open in Fluvanna County.
Students across the commonwealth with emotional, behavioral, or mental disorders can be referred to the Lafayette School. However, the private school has been dealing with debt, and has been on the brink of shutting down.
“We were exactly paycheck-to-paycheck,” Lafayette School Executive Director Jennifer O'Malley.
O’Malley became the executive director in November 2019, and soon discovered the school needed about $67,000 just to stay open. She says a forensic accountant was brought in to find out what led to the deficit: “We just didn’t have the proper checks in place so that we were able to know where we were so that we were able to keep track of where money was coming or it was going," O’Malley said.
Aside from dwindling state funds, the only other money coming in to Lafayette School was from the localities paying for the students who would have gone to public school.
O’Malley and staff organized fundraising dinners, but the school also had to cut some of its programs, and still has a ways to go: “We are still looking at a deficit of about $46,000 that we’d like to overcome, just so that we can be completely stable,” she said.
The executive director believes a more-active fundraising campaign could have prevented the school from amassing this debt in the first place.
“You know, I think we may have been in trouble for a little bit longer than we were aware of, and so if we had been doing fundraising all of last year we would not have been in that position,” O’Malley said.