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Bethel Life Center school closing in May

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, at 7:45 p.m.
  • Updated Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014, at 7:45 p.m.

After 39 years, the school at Bethel Life Center is closing at the end of May.

“We have had over the last 10 years a drop in attendance,” said Dave Zavala, vice chairman at the center, 3777 S. Meridian. “Because of the cost to operate such a program, if your enrollment drops, you can no longer provide the service.”

Zavala said the school has 92 students enrolled, from kindergarten through eighth grade. It once had as many as 300 students from kindergarten through 12th grade.

He said the drop in enrollment could be attributed to the economy or that there are more choices for parents than there were when the school began in 1975. That includes an increase in the number of students being home-schooled, more private schools and improvements in local public school facilities.

The decision to close the school was made by the center’s board last month.

“We weren’t able to share our decision until we had our yearly meeting with the congregation,” which came earlier this week, Zavala said.

The church, Zavala said, will remain vital and strong in Wichita.

“We aren’t disappearing from the community,” he said. “We believe there are other ways to provide services through larger programs.”

Last year, Bethel of Life participated in the Convoy of Hope, a national program that helps provide services to those in need. The church is affiliated with the Assemblies of God.

“We had 6,500 people come across our campus,” Zavala said. “We are going to continue that type of service.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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