The Herald Bulletin

August 13, 2013

Anderson Christian starts school with impending move

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Anderson Christian School began its school year Monday with the knowledge it will have to move soon from its current location at 2625 Lindberg Road.

The move comes as the Lindberg Road Church of Christ wraps up bankruptcy proceedings; the church leased part of its building to the school. Negotiations with Star Financial Bank is giving the school a few more months but it must relocate in December. And while officials have looked - and are still looking - at several buildings for a new home, they're waiting to hear back on offers made.

That uncertainty became problematic for parents; some of whom began to worry about the school's future, Administrator Tom Snell said.

"Some parents left because of that uncertainty," he said. "The whole financial situation has created some drop in our enrollment, so we've had to make adjustments."

Anderson Christian has about 100 students currently, compared to 170 last year, and Snell said some staff trimming had to be done. But, he added, that when it comes to the quality of an Anderson Christian education, the staff and faculty have "not sacrificed anything."

Parents who stuck with the school did so because they say it's a better learning environment for their children, and that they have faith in Anderson Christian's future.

"I like the school. I like the people," said Phil Eldridge, a parent of two. "The kids are doing a lot better here than they were in public school. They got lost in public school."

Snell said the school does have a higher percentage of voucher students in its second year of accepting them. He attributed that to a combination of advertising and word of mouth.

"It's becoming more widely understood," he said of the voucher system. "People know that we're one of the places accepting them."

The state's voucher system expanded this year, opening eligibility to more students. During the first year in 2011-12, there were 3,919 vouchers in use in Indiana. That figure doubled in the second year.

Snell said officials "hope to pick up a few more" before the Sept. 1 school choice scholarship deadline.

The school's burdens didn't seem to phase the little ones' excitement to return.

"It was awesome. I had fun. I made a few new friends. And that's all I have to say about it," third grader Brogan Maxwell remarked on his first day of class.

Third grader Amber Ward said it was "awesome because of everything" -- her teacher, her fellow students and the chance to see her best friend again.

Second grader Krystina Bair really liked a soda bottle volcano experiment.

"We all ran back and it exploded. It was really fun," she said.

The day ended with a song and prayer in the hallways before students hugged their teachers and left with their parents.

It's a new year, and Snell is confident the school will find a new home.

Last month, Lindberg Road Church of Christ's offer to purchase Anderson Community Schools' former Meadowbrook Elementary was accepted by the school board. The price cited was $10,000.

ACS' new preschool, Southview Preschool Center, and Indiana Christian Academy also got their school year starts Monday.

Like Dani Palmer on Facebook and follow her @DaniPalmer_THB on Twitter, or call 640-4847.