LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A Catholic school in Las Vegas is facing an uncertain future after its billionaire backer pulled funding.
"[My wife] toured every school in Las Vegas, I mean every single one,” St. Gabriel parent Jesse Hainley said. “And I remember the call, right when she called me, she was like St. Gabriel! That's it! Done deal."
The Hainley family’s been sending their son to St. Gabriel for the last three years. Until a bombshell announcement Friday that the school’s billionaire financial backer would no longer be funding St. Gabriel, the Hainley family’s plan was for their son to attend through eighth grade.
"I put my heart and soul into this place and for me to see it possibly close, it really hurts," Father Marcus Gomori said.
Hainley and Father Marcus said they knew who the benefactor was -- the main source of funding for the school -- and it seemed stable.
"Now, we've found out a lot more details about how kind of rigorous he treated him being the benefactor and how the school couldn't really expand beyond his control," Hainley said.
The staff and parents wouldn’t identify the benefactor other than a well-known billionaire. One parent called the situation almost too good to be true, but added that now that his money's gone, so are some of the restrictions that came with each check.
"It's kind of a blessing in disguise,” Hainley said. “We lost that financially backing but now we have a chance to fix it the right way, the way it should have been."
Father Marcus explained that St. Gabriel is an independent Catholic school not required to teach a particular curriculum. This also means they don’t get the same financial benefits as diocesan schools.
"We need to raise $2 million in order to get us through,” Father Marcus said. “That would give us more time so we could get more benefactors, more help from the outside, more grants and get this school rolling where we need to go."
“We started a GoFundMe page today, we met with parents, we tried to draft up a donation letter today to send out to everybody in Vegas,” the Hainleys said. “Father and Brother and the faculty have created an environment that we all, as a community, believe that it’s worth fighting for.”