Valor Christian Academy hopes 'Pay What You Can' plan will attract more students

Christian school nearly closed last year

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - A private Christian school in Kansas City, Kan., has found what they hope is a successful method for growing their student body.

The problem isn't academics -- it's financial.
According to Principal Jose Vargas, paying the tuition at Valor Christian Academy is a challenge for many of their families.

"Probably 30, 40 percent do struggle with the tuition, and we want to make it easier for them," Vargas said.

The school's solution: Pay What You Can.

School leaders say their school is the only one in the country offering this option. They hope it will ease the fears of families who don't know if they can afford to send their kids to private school.
"They want an alternative than public education," said Pastor Kelly Lohrke of Praise Chapel Christian Fellowship, which owns the school. "They want a school with Christian values and so forth that kids can grow up in that, and also get a quality education. So that's why we wanted to step in and provide leadership."

Valor used to be Muncie Christian School. The school fell behind on payroll taxes and nearly shut down last summer.

Some of their graduates approached Praise Chapel Christian Fellowship, which decided to rescue the school. It opened in the fall with a new name and new leadership. With the new "Pay What You Can" plan, they hope to grow beyond the current 95 students.

Tuition averages around $4,500 a year, depending on the student's grade level. The school is gearing the "Pay What You Can" plan now for next school year. Families can apply on the Valor Christian Academy website. Some will still have to pay full tuition, but others will be allowed to pay what they can afford.
"We do want to make it affordable for all families to be able to come," Lohrke said.

"I believe we can help the community," Vargas said. "I believe we can be a voice and we can impact our community that is going to have this benefit with Christian leadership rising up out of the school."

By attracting new students, the school hopes to have all of their seats full next year.

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