PLATTSBURGH — The decision to close a local Christian school has been met with appeals from the students’ parents to reconsider, and they are willing to help.
New Life Christian Academy, a ministry of the First Assembly of God, 164 Prospect Ave., was founded in 1980 by a group of church members.
When Plattsburgh Air Force Base was active, the school population was between 40 and 50 students every year. With the base closing, that all changed.
“It not only hit the community hard, to see the Air Base close, but churches and small schools such as ours especially felt the pain,” said the school’s administrator, Jim Miller, also associate pastor at the church.
At present, the school has about 15 students from first to 10th grades, although it offers kindergarten to grade 12.
The parents of those 15 students are adamant that the school shouldn’t close without at least making an effort to raise the necessary funds to operate.
“The parents came to me and said, ‘What are we going to do?’ and I can understand their concern,” he said. “The (bad) economy is hard to overcome; it’s hard to make ends meet, even with two parents working, and tuition can be hard to come up with.”
The basic tuition is reduced if more than one child from the same family is attending the school, which also offers installment payment plans.
Some parents want their children to have public-school advantages, like a gymnasium and athletic teams, Miller said, but the Christian school has a lot to offer that public schools don’t have.
“The one greatest problem we hear about in public schools is bullying, and you won’t find any of that here, not as long as I’m principal,” he said.
“We also have a solid curriculum, based on the word of God, teaching the children about creation and life from a biblical viewpoint.”
The school utilizes the Abeka curriculum in grades kindergarten through five, and the Ignitia courses in grades six through 12, all Christian-based teaching.
Although the school doesn’t transport students, most children can ride specially designated buses from participating school districts, including Peru, Beekmantown, Saranac and AuSable.
“Our students have the advantage of small classrooms, one-on-one attention, a safe place to study, be cared for and loved by the teachers and the staff,” Miller said.
“Parents like these advantages that our school offers.”
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The parents of students at New Life Christian Academy have plans for several fundraisers in the coming months.
From 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, Friendly's at 81 Centre Drive, Plattsburgh, will donate 20 percent of the diner's meal cost to New Life Christian Academy. Present a coupon, available from First Assembly of God, 164 Prospect Ave., Plattsburgh, before ordering for the school to receive the funds.
From 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 15, they will host a spaghetti and meatball dinner including salads and breads at the VFW Post 125, 116 Boynton Ave., Plattsburgh. There will also be meatless spaghetti for vegetarians. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $5 per person at the church office, or $8 at the door, with children 5 and under admitted free. The day will include a silent auction, bake sale and lots of cotton candy for sale.
The school also has an ongoing Yankee Candle sale until March 21, with a portion of the profits going toward the fundraising. Candles will be delivered in time for Mother's Day.
For more information about New Life Christian School, call School Administrator Pastor Jim Miller at 563-2842 or check their online information at www.plattsburghag.org and click on New Life Christian Academy on the left.