Reader says statements regarding Christian school are misleading

Grace Bennik expresses her opinion in a letter to the editor regarding statements about the Rimbey Christian School made by WCPS.

  • Tue Apr 5th, 2016 10:00am
  • News

Letter to the Editor:

In my first letter to the Editor, I would like to correct some misleading statements made by Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) regarding Rimbey Christian School (RCS) in the article published by the Rimbey Review.

First of all a brief history about education in this great country of ours. The beginnings of our educational system began with two equally funded choices, the Catholic School System and the Protestant School System now referred to as Public Schools. In the beginning students were seen as more than their future occupation, and schools strove to educate their students academically, physically, emotionally, socially AND spiritually! Over time that has changed and sadly the spiritual aspect of education which needs to be included in every subject, has slowly been removed from the public school setting.

The funding of education has also changed. While Catholic Schools still receive the same funding as Public Schools. Christian Schools or Alternative Schools do not. They receive only a portion of the educational grant for a student, and no funding for administration and no funding for their building.

We have supported Rimbey Christian for 30 years, and the reasons for sending our children to Rimbey Christian School had nothing to do with the technology, or whether they had a gym, new windows or a phone system.

We believe that everything in this world has God’s claim on it, and that includes the education of our children. If our curriculum and our customs leave God out, we teach with great force that He does not count. I am very thankful for all the teachers, board members, families and volunteers that have impacted our children with the good news of what God has done for us, and have shown them that they are part of a community bigger than themselves.

The WCPS “comprehensive review” of RCS was only a short visit. I cannot address all the comments made, but there are two that I feel need to be addressed. First, the WCPS board stated that “right now, they don’t pay for bussing and we provide it for free”.

The full story is that a few years back, WCPS decided to stop providing bussing for children attending Christian Schools even though their parents pay the same taxes as everyone else in the district. Instead they tried to charge us the highest fee legally possible to continue the service. Their decision forced us to look at other ways of getting students to school, and is why we now provide our own bussing, even for pre-school students.

Second, the building maintenance that WCPS is concerned about being “on the hook for” and the “significant spending” to upgrade Rimbey Christian is ironic coming from a board that has a $2-million deficit despite receiving full funding. Perhaps they could learn from RCS, which has faithfully maintained a balanced budget for 30 years with less funding.  Furthermore, alternative schools in Alberta that have gone under the umbrella of a school division, have retained the property and buildings and continued to pay the maintenance cost with no additional costs to the school division.

Lastly, the article implies WCPS views RCS as below par when it comes to academics and Phys Ed. If this were accurate, then why have so many alumni gone on to excel scholastically and athletically?

We believe it is because we treat the student as a whole person. We teach that people are endowed with God-given gifts that should be developed into a passion to serve their community. If you would like to see the difference for yourself, come to tour the school or check out our website.

The WCPS board decision reaffirmed their “status quo” approach to education—if you are a parent who believes that there is more to learning than phone systems and computer labs come join the adventure of being part of Rimbey Christian School.

Grace Bennik