Christian school in Greenfield to close

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Buildings at 385 Chapman St, belong to the Cornerstone Christian School in Greenfield.

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    Buildings at 385 Chapman St, belong to the Cornerstone Christian School in Greenfield.

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The Alliance Youth Center at the Cornerstone Christian School

    Recorder/Paul Franz
    The Alliance Youth Center at the Cornerstone Christian School

  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>Buildings at 385 Chapman St, belong to the Cornerstone Christian School in Greenfield.
  • Recorder/Paul Franz<br/>The Alliance Youth Center at the Cornerstone Christian School

GREENFIELD — The Cornerstone Christian School — a 24-year-old private school affiliated with the Greenfield Alliance Church — will close its doors at the end of this school year.

The school teaches 52 students from pre-K to eighth grade and employs five teachers, said Principal Joe Ollis.

In recent years, it had become increasingly difficult for the school to cover its expenses, which total around $200,000 annually, said Ollis. The school almost closed last year, he said.

Parents were told last fall that tuition would rise from about $4,250 to $5,500, said Ollis, an increase that most were unable or unwilling to pay.

Parents have known about the school’s closing for a few months and have all made other arrangements for next year, he said.

The school, which once served as many as 100 students at a time, aims “to partner with families and foster a creative, caring community where all children can reach their full potential academically and as disciples of Jesus Christ to the glory of God,” according to the school’s website.

Two other Greenfield Christian schools have met similar ends within the past decade.

Two years ago, the 82-year-old Holy Trinity School closed its doors, citing years of declining enrollment and financial troubles that the Springfield Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church was unable to continue to offset.

The same had happened to the private Christian-based Mariamante Academy in 2004, with that school relocating to Virginia.

“We were the last private Christian school in Greenfield,” said Ollis. “It’s sad that we’re closing.”

The school is located at 385 Chapman St., in buildings adjacent to the Greenfield Alliance Church.

Church officials could not be reached Wednesday to comment on the school closing or to discuss plans for the facility’s future use.

But at a Tuesday night meeting, the Greenfield School Building Committee briefly discussed using the space to temporarily house a public school program during high school construction in the coming two years.

Superintendent Susan Hollins and Project Manager Jim Byrne reached out to the Christian school and toured it Tuesday, with the intention of potentially leasing the space for two years. Hollins ultimately decided it wouldn’t be a good fit, however.

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