Heritage Christian School in Battleford is hoping to boost enrolment numbers to try to help increase funding, as part of its work ahead.
Two board members — Al Klippenstein and chair Duncan Hemmerling — made a presentation at a Living Sky School Division's board meeting last month to discuss some of the school's current challenges.
As a semi-private school, Heritage Christian School is considered an affiliate school under the Living Sky School Division umbrella.
Klippenstein explained' as an affiliate school, Heritage Christian School receives grant funding from the school division through the province. In this way, the school division pays some of the school's expenses, such as teachers' salaries and utilities costs mainly, on the school's behalf.
The school is currently in the process of paying back funds it received from the school division outside the grant funding it receives.
"The grant money that they gave us they didn’t cover the costs that we were incurring," said Klippenstein, adding the school division keeps the money it receives from the province for Heritage school in-trust for the school`s use.
"The agreement we had is [the money owed] would be paid back by the end of five years," Klippenstein said. "We are on track with that for sure."
The Heritage Christian School building is owned by the school's corporation, while the corporation itself is largely made up of parents who pay registration fees.
All costs beyond what the school division grant funding covers, the corporation looks after.
"It belongs to our corporation, so any upkeep of the building is our expense and we raise money for that," explained the treasurer.
Heritage school continues to try to increase its enrolment numbers, which would also bring in more revenue.
The school has about 35 pupils in total pre-registered for the new school year.
Klippenstein said at one time, about 10 years ago, he recalls the school had about 70 pupils. So enrolment is a concern.
"As a private school or a school that is only partially funded, I think that it is always an issue — whether you have enrolment enough. More students would always be better. More students are always better,” he said.
During the prior school board meeting, one trustee questioned whether the school might want to consider moving to a smaller location.
However, Klippenstein said the corporation is not looking at that option currently, and likes the building in which the school is located. The corporation is able to rent space to other organizations to use for various events or meetings, to help bring in more income.
For the coming school year, Heritage school will need to replace four of the roughly 15 furnaces in the building, as another expense.
"To raise funds for that, we are looking at private funding, grants from organizations out there that provide grant money for schools and Christian schools," Klippenstein said. "We are actively doing that now."
Despite the challenges, Klippenstein said the pre-K to Grade 8 school is doing well overall.
"We have some active parents in the school who have a passion for what we do at the school - providing a Christian education in the Battlefords," he said.
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