A small private school in Carrollton is looking for a Christmas miracle as it searches for the funds it needs to keep the doors open for the rest of the 2017-2018 school year.
Carrollton Christian Academy has provided a private education to kids for the past 38 years. After ending a partnership with the church that had provided its facilities during that time, the school was forced to move last year.
After settling in to a new home at Carrollton Nazarene Church, administrators say the school lost about half of its enrollment and with it, the tuition and funding that keeps it going.
"It's just been a continuing struggle," said principal Elaine Marchant. "Closing is inevitable if one of our plans don't come through."
The school's board along with its staff have worked to find new partners that can help secure the school's legacy. In the meantime, they say it'll take $400,000 to reopen the doors for the spring semester in January.
"It hasn't been until just recently that we've been looking and saying, 'Man, one of these deals has got to come through to continue on — whether it be fundraising, whether it be online classes, whether it be partnering with someone who wants to invest in affordable Christian education — something had to change.' That's why we're at this point," Marchant said.
When asked whether tuition could be increased to fill the gap, Marchant said it was lowered when the school was forced to move to a new facility that lacked the ammenities of the school's previous home. She added many families can only afford to pay month to month, meaning few have already paid for the semester that's at risk of not happening. Should the doors close, Marchant says they'll work with those who have paid tuition to recoup costs.
Pat Harrington started a GoFundMe page in hopes he can help his daughter, Ashlee Harrington, walk across the stage in May at the only school she's ever known.
"I want my daughter to finish here, and I want the legacy to continue. I want this community to be able to look back and say, 'Hey, we saved this school. We did it.' And I think that's God’s plan," Harrington said.
Ashlee is expected to be the valedictorian of her class. She's the president of the National Honor Society, the editor of the yearbook and has played for the school's volleyball team. They're all opportunities she believes she's had thanks to the school's small size and individual approach with students.
"The connections the students make with the teachers and each other and everyone, it's just so unique and special. And if it were to go away, so many people would be crushed," Ashlee Harrington said.
Carrollton Christian Academy has been educating students for 38 years.