By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Despite months of fundraising and prayer, Community Christian School in Woodstock is closing and will not be open for the 2012-2013 academic year.
The school had set several financial and enrollment goals to be completed by July 31, but Board Chairman Tom Galati, whose children attended the school, said none were achieved.
"Our options were very limited, and it was a hard decision to make," he said Monday. Galati became chairman more than a year ago, and said he came in knowing that the school was struggling financially.
"It was very clear that we had an uphill battle," he said. "The overhead was so high and the enrollment was so low ... the numbers just didn't add up."
The school has only been at its location at 23749 Old Valley Pike for four years. The building is valued at $2 million, and the school owed more than half that amount.
Galati said there are still three homes tied up in the building's mortgage -- about $250,000 per family.
"We're looking to sell it before it goes into foreclosure, and then auction off all the personal items that belonged to CCS," he said. "We still have teachers and vendors to pay."
Galati said the reaction from parents was one of sadness when it was officially announced that the school was closing. Several ideas have been floated, including homeschooling, public school or even a one-room school house run by a few of CCS's teachers. Galati plans to have his children attend Cornerstone Christian School in Harrisonburg, which he said is very similar to their old one.
"God is not finished with CCS in Woodstock," he said. "I think sometimes you have to tear down in order to build back up."
Galati recognized that the poor economy probably added to the school's financial hardships.
"I think the community could see the value of a Christian education, but couldn't necessarily afford it," he said.
The school had a number of families on reduced tuition, he added.
"What I will take from all this is that you have to have a strong commitment from more than just a handful of people in order to make a nonprofit or Christian organization work," he said of the past few months. "This is a community school, and it has to be a community effort."
The school still needs to pay its staff for the month of August -- a total of $20,000.
"It's a shortfall. We literally do not have that money," Galati said. "There's still a lot of things we need to figure out, but I have to thank the community for years and years of financial support and prayers."
Donations are still being accepted to help pay the faculty and staff of Community Christian School, and they can be sent to 23749 Old Valley Pike, Woodstock, VA 22664.