May Is an Important Month here at Trinity Lutheran…
Why? Cinco de Mayo? Um, no. Pentecost? Yes, and don’t forget to wear red on Sunday, May 11th. But that’s not what I’m writing about today.
On Monday, May 12th, like most 2nd Mondays of the month, we have our board meetings, and on that particular 2nd Monday the School Board will evaluate the number of children enrolled in our school and make a determination on how many grades to offer for the next school year.
That sounds like such a simple statement, but behind it is an incredible amount of emotion and concern. In making any decision such regarding the school, we are balancing 60 years of Trinity tradition and ministry with incredible financial struggles and the effects on other parts of our ministry. Teachers are wondering if they will have jobs, parents wondering where they will send their children for school, and children who have never known any school but Trinity are concerned about what public school will bring - there is a LOT going on with this decision!
What’s driving this concern? As noted in the “Council Report to the Congregation, May 4, 2008” insert that’s included in this Caller, we have been struggling with enrollment issues in the school and therefore financial issues as well. For every child not enrolled, we lose $4,000 of income. We have 20 fewer students than last year, and 70 less than five years ago.
And to make matters worse, we have tried so hard to keep tuition low that we have actually starved the budget and probably damaged the institution - both church and school. Since we run a really tight financial ship around here, cutting and paring and deferring everything possible, there is just no real way to cut expenses beyond what we have already done. We have deferred maintenance, scraped by without replacing equipment, put off raises, and now we’re at the bottom - actually, below the bottom.
So MUCH prayer and effort has gone into the school over the past few years, trying to honor 60 years of tradition in our school and care for the families and children to whom we minister, by repairing, re-inventing, restructuring and re-whatever else we could see that needed attention and still we continue to slide in enrollment. We’ve gone to extraordinary lengths to advertise and publicize in every way we could imagine, and with the slide in public school enrollment, we are losing kids at an even faster rate.
Please keep us in prayer in this important month!