Archive for Friday, March 24, 2006

Filling the void

Wallula students may have new home in Leavenworth

March 24, 2006

The fate of Wallula Christian School is still hanging in the balance, as parents and school officials seek a plausible solution to last month's announcement the school was paring its offerings.

Last month, Wallula Christian Church told parents of students attending its school that the elders had decided to cut kindergarten through fifth grade from its school ministry in the fall, keeping only its preschool program for 2006-07.

The Rev. Lance Coffman, lead pastor at Wallula Church, said in February that he and a council of three elders began evaluating all ministries at the church last fall to see how they aligned with the church's vision. The result of that study, which included discussions with the school ministry team, he said, was that the church could best meet the needs of the community by focusing the education ministry on preschool only.

Teresa Bradshaw, director and kindergarten teacher at Wallula School, said parents who wanted to keep the school open had looked into several options, including making the school an independent, nonprofit organization and moving the school to another church.

"The parents and teachers really believe in having a Christian school in the Leavenworth-Lansing area," she said.

Right now, Bradshaw said the top choice is to move the school to Church of the Open Door, 4800 S. 20th St., Leavenworth.

The Rev. Damian Efta, pastor of Church of the Open Door, said the church elder board had been reviewing the decision to take on the school.

"Historically, the church has always had an interest in Christian education," Efta said. The church had a school at one time, about 15 to 20 years ago, Efta said, and also offers resources to homeschooling families.

Church of the Open Door has facilities that "could fit the needs of a small Christian school," Efta said, in an addition containing classrooms built about four years ago. He said the classrooms might hold up to 100 or 120 students. Bradshaw said there were 35 students in kindergarten through fifth grade this year at Wallula School.

Last week, the elders decided to take two weeks to pray about adding the school, Efta said. He said the board would meet on Tuesday, March 28, to make its decision.

Bradshaw said other plans for the school were on the backburner until Church of the Open Door made its decision.

"If Church of the Open Door calls, we'll go with that," she said.

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