MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul’s McNally Smith College of Music will close its doors after more than 30 years in operation.
The school sent a mass email to staff Thursday saying they are in dire financial straits and will be closing down. Classes were scheduled to go until next Wednesday.
In the email, the school said staff members who were expecting a paycheck Friday will not receive it, and that their health insurance through Medica is paid through the end of the month.
Administrators also said 38 students plan to graduate Saturday, and 300 others wouldn’t receive credit for classes completed this semester if the school were to shut down immediately.
“We are asking faculty and staff to consider finishing the term and issue grades as usual to avoid these horrific consequences for our students, even if it is without pay, simply for the sake of our students,” the email said. “We fully understand the awkwardness and unfairness of this request. Nevertheless, we are asking for your help.”
The school blamed funding trouble on the decline of higher education in general, and on recent “onerous” regulations from the Department of Education. Those regulations, according to the email, forced the school to convert to a nonprofit, which the IRS approved in April.
“The 45-60 day review took much longer that [sic] any of us anticipated and as a result of the delay and the enormous legal costs for the conversion we were not able to secure the financing we needed,” the email said.
Mayor Chris Coleman sent out a statement in response to the closing, saying the school has been a “critical partner for many years as we have developed a vibrant downtown with arts centering the rebirth.”
“A generation of artists have been nurtured and developed within the walls of the school,” Coleman said. “Young musicians have found a place to develop their talent. I am deeply saddened by McNally Smith’s closure.”
McNally Smith, which first opened in 1985, has about 600 students and about 100 faculty members on staff.