March 18, 2018
Dear Bethany Christian families,
It is with heavy, but also very hopeful hearts that we write to you today. As you know, the Christian school landscape in the East Valley has been changing dramatically over the past decade. Overall, we have been managing and balancing declining enrollment with our desire to provide excellence in Christian education to our families. We thank you for coming alongside us in this endeavor. Your investment in Bethany through the years has allowed us to reach and teach hundreds of children, impacting our communities in countless ways for Christ.
Our Board has consistently and earnestly sought the Lord’s direction on the future of Bethany Christian. We have labored over difficult decisions, while collaborating with other local Christian schools and working to identify Bethany’s role in meeting the demand for Christian education in the east valley. Although our current students and families are extremely passionate about Bethany and the community we have developed, we have continued to experience declining enrollment and an uncertain future.
It is with our dedication to excellence in Christian education as our driving purpose and only after extensive prayerful consideration that we, as a Board of Directors and in partnership with our Administrator, Kris Colvin, respectfully announce that Bethany Christian School will cease school operations at the end of the 2018-19 school year.
The difficult reality we currently face is that Bethany is approaching a refinancing milestone with our lending institution in the Spring of 2020. We know that our bank will expect to see increased enrollment with an upward trend toward financial sustainability. Unfortunately, in the current climate, we will not be able to provide them with these assurances. God however, in his divine timing and provision, has given us a unique and special opportunity to share our resources with others who have the same passion for Christian education. We know God answers prayers and his provision is perfect.
In fulfillment of our commitment to advance Christian education, we have invited our longtime partner, Valley Christian Schools, to utilize our campus resources beginning June 1, 2019 and they have accepted. We know that VCS has the same commitment and alignment of vision that makes this a successful partnership for our students and families. This opportunity and partnership are what makes this announcement bittersweet; we are saddened at the loss of the history and name of “Bethany Christian,” but we are encouraged and excited for a great transitional opportunity for our families to remain in Christian education by joining the VCS family.
Later today, VCS will announce plans to host their newly established K-5 on Bethany’s campus for at least one full year (2019-20) before moving to their newly expanded campus in west Chandler. We believe this will provide the smoothest transition possible for BCS families who desire to continue Bethany’s incredible community and we know this will be a great option for other incoming families looking for Christian education. We are grateful that this transition will honor the history and mission of our school to promote and expand Christian education in the East Valley. In partnership with VCS, we are encouraging our faculty and staff to seek out the open employment opportunities provided at the new Valley Christian K-5, and at the Junior High or High School.
We know you will have questions, and it is extremely important to us that you feel heard and supported. For information on next steps, we invite parents and staff to meet with the BCS Board and Administrator this Thursday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the multi-purpose room. We will share more detailed information about this difficult decision and discuss your opportunity to transfer your student’s enrollment to Valley Christian Schools. There will also be a follow-up meeting with VCS Administration and Staff on March 26 at 6:30 p.m. They will be available to answer questions about this transition and their school.
As we walk this path over the next few months, please join us in prayer for our students, faculty and staff. Thank you for walking alongside us on this journey. We are hopeful for the plans that God has in store for the entire Bethany Christian family. We leave you with God’s Word from Proverbs 3:5-6:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
In His service with you,
Wydale K. Holmes, President
Scott Bourdo, Vice-President
Christy Nebeker, Treasurer
Sharon Cochran, Secretary
Mark Bare, Former Board President, Incorporating Board Member
Kris Colvin, Administrator