Independent Fall River school closes abruptly amid state investi - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Independent Fall River school closes abruptly amid state investigation

Independent Fall River school closes abruptly amid state investigation

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By: Melissa Randall

Seton Acadmy on North High St. in Fall River closed without any warning Wednesday. Parents say they received a phone call telling them to pick their children up, but were given no explanation as to why.

It was no secret that the cash strapped independent school had plans to close at the end of the year, but the school shuttered its doors two weeks early. Nelson Rodrigues' 6–year–old son, Aiden, was a kindergartner. His wife spent most of the morning Thursday working with the public school district trying to figure out what to do.

"There are a ton of parents there trying to figure out where their kids are going to go to school and if the transcripts from the school will be available for them to get credit for the time that they were here," said Rodrigues.

Prior to the closing the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office launched an investigation into Seton Academy. They would not comment on the nature of the investigation, but in 2013 the school was cited for owing nearly $50,000 in back wages. The AG's office says they never ordered the academy to close. That was a decision made by the school.

Bob Costa has a daughter in the 6th grade at Seton. He said the enrollment numbers had declined over the last few years and this year's student body was around 40 kids made up of children in grades kindergarten through 8. Costa added that the school was having trouble collecting tuition.

"There was a small number that refused to pay that and that small number has created this mess," said Costa.

Parents tell ABC6 that a while back they had received a letter from the school saying that teachers were no longer being paid.

"As good teachers as they are they felt that they wanted to finish off the school year," said Costa. "Volunteered their time and we knew that up front. There was never a question about that."

The AG's office is helping to coordinate with Fall River Public Schools to help place the students.

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