|4/24/2018 6:48:00 PM|
SCA weathers financial storm
|Sisters Christian Academy (SCA) has weathered a financial storm that threatened to swamp the small, private Christian school. According to Principal Cheryl Peterson, the support of the Sisters community has ensured that the academy will continue through this year and will operate through the next school year.|
While ongoing fundraising and changes to the business model are necessary, Peterson reported, a future that seemed very much in doubt a few weeks ago is now looking much more secure.
"The day we told parents we might have to close... it was a sad day," Peterson said. "In five weeks, people from the community (and) a couple of different foundations have written big checks - and small checks."
Students pitched in and made crafts for sale and donated the proceeds, and one 4-year-old pre-schooler offered Peterson the $1.25 contents of his piggy bank.
"I lost it," she said. "Not in front of him. I wrote him a thank-you note just like I do for the big checks that have come in. What a little heart."
According to Peterson, some donations came from people who are not church-affiliated or religious but who "support different styles (of education) for kids and different needs for families."
In March, board member Peter Storton told The Nugget that the school needs $100,000 in hand to be able to go forward into the 2018-19 school year. The school charges $4,950 for yearly tuition, which is lower than most Christian schools in the region - significantly lower in many cases. While tuition hikes are on the table, Storton said, the school wants to remain accessible to young families.
Peterson said that the funding received to date is sufficient to keep the school going. However, she acknowledged that ongoing fundraising will be necessary.
"We'll continue to need to raise funds to complete next year," she said. "(The board is) confident now we can make it all the way through."
The school plans to stage events that will not only raise money but also connect the school with the community.
And, Peterson said, the board is modifying the school's business plan to include establishing a monthly pledge opportunity and means by which community members can "sponsor" a student. She said it is important to the board to keep SCA "accessible to all socio-economic groups."
SCA will definitely offer pre-K through 5th-grade education, Peterson reported. Whether there continues to be a middle school offering will depend upon enrollment.
"If there's a need, we're going to go with it," she said.
SCA's staff is accredited, as are its programs. Peterson said that standards will be maintained going forward. And she expressed profound appreciation of the Sisters community's broad support.
"Were just incredibly grateful," she said.
For more information visit www.sisterschristianacademy.com or call 541-549-4133.
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