New Mexico Christian Academy will close this year for lack of funds

Mike Linn

Citing overwhelming financial struggles, officials at the New Mexico Christian Academy on Tuesday decided the K-12 school would not be open this school year.
Sherill Wofford, the school’s principal, said the academy may be open in the fall of 2004 if school officials can raise at least $350,000 to build a new school on land already donated.
Last year the school used space from the First Assembly of God Church at 601 S. Ave. B. free of charge.
Raising money to build their own school may be a difficult task since loans for the school are unavailable.
“We have labor and land donated, but because of the way we run — we don’t make any profit — nobody will loan us money,” Wofford said. “We have three people working on writing grants for us and finding money so we’ll see what happens.”
Last week the school’s board members were seeking donations to equal roughly $75,000 to help run the private school this year.
But with enrollment lagging near 60 students and financial support and contributions to the school dwindling in recent years, officials said the option of staying open this year seemed farfetched.
Financial support to the school dropped by about $8,000 a month following 9/11, according to John Snowberger, the treasurer of the NMCA school board.
Earlier this summer, when board members brought up the option of closing the school, some teachers including Mandy Hertel said they would be willing to take pay cuts to keep the academy operational.
“It’s mostly a ministry that goes on there because we love our kids, and want them to have a Christian education,” Hertel said last week.
Several parents of former students at NMCA said they would not send their children to the K-12 Faith Temple Christian School, another private school in Portales, and NMCA officials said combining the two schools would not be an option because of differing doctrines.
Last school year, tuition at NMCA ran about $2,000 a year and a little less for kindergarten. Tuition at FTCS runs $1,215 annually and somewhat less for kindergarten, according to the school’s Web site.