December 11, 2008

The ins and outs of a Mercer County Christian school

Several Hazen residents are gauging community interest in the idea of beginning a Christian school in Mercer County, most likely in Hazen or Beulah.

Last Thursday, Shiloh-Christian School Administrator Dr. Ross Reinhiller, Bismarck, stopped at Hazen City Hall to provide interested residents the ins and outs of operating a private Christian school in Mercer County.

Portrait of a private school

Shiloh-Christian School, a member of the Association of Christian Schools International, opened in a church basement in 1978 with 47 students, and their first class graduated in 1981. It was a rough time for private schools, Reinhiller said.

"Shiloh went through some phases, from being viewed as a renegade to opening the doors for other Christian schools to exist," he said.

Today, the school has over 250 students in kindergarten through grade 12.

It costs the district $6,400-6,500 per year to educate one child and charge $5,500 for tuition – which leaves a $900-plus deficit. Thus, the district relies on patrons to make up the difference.

In addition, half of their families receive financial aid, and don’t pay the full $5,500 tuition.

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