Archive for Thursday, April 6, 2006

Church passes, for now, on school

Wallula School parents, students still seeking K-5 host for next year

April 6, 2006

Those hoping to keep Wallula Christian School open are back to square one after their top choice passed on the opportunity to take over the school.

The Rev. Damian Efta, pastor of Church of the Open Door, Leavenworth, said the board of elders there decided against taking over the school but offered the use of classroom space at the church if the school was able to operate independently.

Efta said the timing was the main reason the church turned down the school. The church was not prepared to take on the financial responsibility just yet, he said.

"For us, we determined that to go forward this fall was just too quick for us to do it properly," Efta said.

The decision to cut kindergarten through fifth grade at Wallula School, announced by elders of Wallula Christian Church in February, set teachers and parents searching for a way to keep a Christian school in the Lansing-Leavenworth area. Teresa Bradshaw, director and kindergarten teacher at Wallula, said moving the school to Church of the Open Door had been the top choice.

Bradshaw said she was disappointed by the decision, "but I understand. Taking on a Christian school is a big responsibility."

She said last week that she was waiting to hear back from parents about what steps to take next.

Catherine Grote, who has a daughter in third grade at Wallula, said she was "pretty devastated" when she found out the school was closing.

"It's a little school, but I think it was a bright, shining light in the community," she said.

Grote said she was undecided about where to send her daughter next year. She said she was considering a Christian school in Kansas City, Kan., and Lansing Intermediate School. She has nothing against public schools, she said.

"I feel that at some point, kids that go to Christian school should go to public school," she said.

She sent her daughter to Lansing Elementary School in the fall, but Grote switched her back to Wallula for the second semester because her daughter was "emotionally and spiritually suffering in a large classroom," she said. Grote said her daughter missed praying in the morning and the stories about values and character that were read daily.

Grote said that if she chose to send her daughter to LIS, she was sure her daughter would do well academically, and she knows other students from sports and the neighborhood. But her main reason for choosing a Christian school was that "God is in the classroom," she said.

"He's not there in public schools," she said.

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