Can A Christmas Miracle Save A Beloved Christian School In Texas?
Carrollton TX: The Carrollton Christian Academy is a community Christian school dedicated to academic excellence with a Biblical worldview. CCA is a non-profit school serving students in Pre-Kindergarten through twelfth grade. Their doors opened in 1980 and since that time Carrollton Christian Academy (CCA) has been meeting the needs of families who desire a strong academic program integrated with Christian truth. However, CCA has had both an exemplary and recently challenging history. As they move towards their Christmas break, they are faced with the realization that their door may not open again in the new year, 2018. At least not without help in the form of some kind of Christmas Miracle.
The school operates under its own state charter and federal tax identification designation as a 501(c)(3) educational institution. Carrollton Christian Academy is a fully accredited, PreK-12, college-preparatory, Christian school. An amazing 99% of CCA graduates go on to college at major universities in Texas or out-of-state schools. Their students consistently score high on national standardized tests and obtain superior honors in ACSI competitions. According to the reviews on their Facebook page, the school is exceptionally loved. So, why would an accredited school with such accolades and achievements need some sort of Christmas Miracle to avoid closing down?
CCA had been in partnership with First United Methodist Church (FUMC) for 35 years. It began as an educational ministry, although during the majority of that time, CCA operated as a separate 501(c)3 educational institution. The school was self-funded through tuition, grants and fundraisers. They paid the church for the use of the buildings, made repairs, built and maintained athletic facilities, etc. FUMC had even utilized CCA’s financial position to assist it in securing loans for the church. In that and many other ways CCA had proven to be a generous partner with FUMC. At least until May of 2015 when the school was given an ultimatum. Dissolve the current Board and the Charter of the School and come under the authority of the Church Council with direct supervision of the Senior Pastor. The School Board was given 48 hours to make a decision or the deal was off and they would have to relocate.
In short, the school was forced to relocate, leaving behind approximately $11 million dollars worth of investments in the previous facilities including a stadium built by the school. The relocation came with losses in attendance and tuition, as well as required investments in new facilities. However, CCA continued to operate and maintain their academic standards until today. Faced with financial shortfalls, the school is now looking at the possibility of having to close their doors in the middle of the school year. Though the school is relatively small, a mid-year closing will have devastating effects on many of its students.
A Father’s Fight To Save A School And His Daughter’s Future
I spoke with Pat Harrington, the parent of one such student. His daughter, Ashlee, is a Senior at Carrollton Christian Academy. She is the only current student that has attended CCA for the entirety of her education, K-12, or at least halfway through 12. She is currently halfway through her Senior year and on track for Valedictorian, but if the school closes, she’ll be forced to change schools for the rest of her Senior year. In a school where 99% of the graduates go to college, being Valedictorian is practically a guaranteed full academic scholarship. However, changing schools midway through Senior year could put that all in jeopardy. Needless to say her father, Pat, is on a mission to save both the school and his daughter’s future.
Mr. Harrington brought the school’s plight to my attention and put me in contact with Principal Elaine Marchant. Between the two of them, I learned the history and the current dilemma of the school. As it stands right now, Carrollton Christian Academy needs approximately $400,000 to keep the doors open for the remainder of the school year. That would secure their facilities, pay the teachers contracts and operating expenses. According to Ms. Marchant, the school is also working on some online education contracts to help finance the school in the future, but those negotiations won’t save the school in the short term. As a 501(c)3 educational institution, CCA is able to take tax-deductible donations, and Principal Marchant tells me that this is the first time the school has reached out to the community for their help.
The news of the school’s impending fate has only just come to light and the holiday season makes the scramble for financial options more difficult. The future of the school and its students may well rest in the giving nature of people this time of year. A Christmas Miracle you might say. For the community of Carrollton, the loss of such a fine educational institution would be profound for many families. Mr. Harrington would love nothing more than to be able to give his daughter the rest of her Senior year, and the future she has worked so hard for, as a Christmas present.
You Can Help Deliver a Christmas Miracle
Having been a self-sufficient organization for so long, resorting to pleas for public support does not come easily. The school has a very sound financial history, minus the unforeseen and short notice need to relocate which precipitated this turn of events.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
If you would like to help make this Christmas Miracle a reality, please contact Amanda Young at (972)242-6688. Due to the high volume demands on the U.S. Postal Service during the holidays, financial pledges and mailing a check may be to slow to meet the immediate need. Therefore, a SaveCCA GoFundMe page has been set up to expedite the donation process.