Last year, teachers took a 30-percent cut in pay in order to keep the doors open at First Baptist Christian School in Mishawaka. Nonetheless, this year brings another threat that the school might close.
“We’re looking at June as needing to be a deciding month,” said Senior Pastor David Miller, who is also the school administrator.
Miller was there some 35 years ago when First Baptist Christian opened its doors, and he doesn’t want to have to make the call to close the school.
“But our prayer right now and our goal is to see that we could open this fall,” said Miller.
The school’s enrollment once peaked at 200 students, but last year just 83 students were on hand. “Well, the last few years have, the recession has just hit families hard, obviously they’re paying extra to have their children in a private Christian school,” said Miller. “70 percent of our families are really from outside our church so it’s a good representation from the Michiana area.”
While some private schools have helped bolster enrollment through Indiana’s private school voucher program, First Baptist is not eligible to take part because it is not state accredited.
School officials started thinking who else might be sad to see First Baptist Christian go, perhaps enough to help it stay open.
“We just want to make businessmen in the area aware of the fact the school is here, some of our graduates are employed in their businesses, our families do business with them and we just want them to know what we're doing and the product we have, and if they would be so inclined, we'd welcome their support,” said Miller.
Leaders of some 100 local businesses have been invited to a special breakfast and presentation at the school on Thursday morning, June 14th, and 8:00 a.m.
“So the product that we’re producing is one that we would trust to be trustworthy, dependable, and the y would say you know, I like that kind of student in my business.”