By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Several weeks ago the future of Community Christian School in Woodstock was unclear.
But after fundraising efforts and planning, school officials are confident the same doors will open this fall for the 2012-2013 academic year.
The building that houses the school, located at 23749 Old Valley Pike, is valued at around $2 million, and the school has struggled with making mortgage payments.
"We went back to the bank and they offered interest-only payments through the end of the year," said Board Chairman Tom Galati of Edinburg, who has children enrolled in the school.
The school owed more than $1 million on the structure, which they only moved into four years ago.
Board members have recently developed a timeline that, if successful, will keep the school in their current building and allow them to continue paying faculty and pay back vendors, said Nancy Ritenour, one of the school's founders and kindergarten teacher.
"We still have a long way to go, but we've made good progress," she said. The school has raised over $40,000 in the past few weeks, she added. Ritenour said funding came from multiple sources like fundraisers and individual donors.
By July 31 of this year, the school needs to raise a total of $145,000 to secure the building for the upcoming school year, as well as satisfy its current contracts with banks, vendors and teachers, said Wes Dellinger, a member of the school's board and parent of two students.
The total breaks down to $78,000 for the contracts and $67,000 to cover next year's mortgages, he said.
The school also needs to have a minimum of 80 students signed up for next school year, as the $4,500 tuition accounts for 50 percent of the cost to keep the school running.
Galati said they have 40 students signed up so far, but more than 80 are showing interest.
"The parents have said that building or no building, they want their kids at CCS," he said. The school is also planning to implement a three-year-old to Pre-K class to bring in more revenue from tuition. Though it would require more staff, the overall financial impact would be a positive one for the school, Galati said.
"Our biggest base is in the younger grades, so we'll continue to build on that," he said.
If the $145,000 goal is not met by the end of July, Galati said that "plan B" would be holding classes in the basement of a church "or something like that."
"That would be such a downer, though," he said. "The building we're in is a necessity."
Galati, Ritenour and Dellinger all expressed gratitude to the community for their donations and support, but also stressed that it needs to continue. Some churches have taken up offerings specifically for Community Christian School, while other individuals have given as little as $10.
"The amount doesn't matter," Galati said.
"Before, it was pretty hopeless," said Ritenour on the school's financial state a few months ago. "But we need to be open to learning whatever comes our way. Positivity has come out of this."
To donate or learn more about Community Christian School, call 540-459-5832 or visit their website at www.ccs-lions.org.