WICHITA, Kansas – The number of private schools in Wichita will drop from seven down to six. School leaders say the decision to shut down Bethel Life School after nearly 40 years was one the hardest things they’ve ever had to do. Parents came to a special meeting to find out what went wrong.
Shock and disbelief are just a few of the emotions going through Marjorie Hitchcock’s mind Friday when she read a letter explaining Bethel Life school is shutting down. It’s still difficult for her to hold back her tears.
“It would be different if we had any kind of inkling, but just to take the school away is not right,” Hitchcock said.
Hitchcock’s grandson goes to Bethel and has been there for 5 years. She’s been raising her grandson since his mother died when he was just 2 years old.
“She wanted him to have a good Christian education and I’ve done everything possible to do that and I don’t feel like I’m letting him down, I feel like the school has let him down and I’m letting my promise down to her,” said Hitchcock.
But school leaders say closing was a very difficult choice to make. They insist they’ve explored every option to keep the Bethel open. But dwindling enrollment numbers over the last decade are catching up.
Enrollment stands at 95 students this year. Many of their parents came to Bethel Monday night to hear more about the reasons behind the decision and why they couldn’t have learned about the financial problems sooner.