Students and teachers returned to class Thursday at Carrollton Christian Academy. Last month, they were told this day might not happen, as students' families and alumni rushed to raise the $400,000 it would take to fund the rest of the 2017-2018 school year.
On a GoFundMe page organized to save the school, only $10,000 has been raised. School administrators say donations have come in through other means, but they say it's still only enough to pay rent, teachers' salaries and expenses through January.
Despite the uncertainty, Principal Elaine Marchant remains optimistic.
"I think everyone's rooting for us. They want us to succeed.," Marchant said. "We may very well have hardships, but I'm encouraged."
Marchant says she started the school day encouraging students and teachers not to focus on how this semester has started but on how it will end — hopefully with a May graduation for its 30 or so seniors.
When asked if there's concern in bringing kids back to class when they're not positive they'll still be open in February, Marchant said no.
"I don't think anybody has that fear. There's been a groundswell of support. I don't think anyone's concerned about finishing the year. I think the money will come. It's kind of like, if you build it they will come," Marchant said.
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 moved.
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.
While enrollment was up to 900 students during the school's peak in the 1980s, today it is fewer than 100.
So as administrators, students and alumni look for ways to get the school to February, board members look for ways to increase enrollment next year to secure the school's future.
Marchant says they hope to do so by building a true school building on land they hope to acquire from their current home, Carrollton Nazarene Church.
In the meantime, both faculty and parents are focusing on seniors and making sure they walk across the stage in May as CCA grads, rather than being forced to transfer to new schools in their final semester of high school.