Community Lutheran Schools hoping to land grant - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Community Lutheran Schools hoping to land grant

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READLYN (KWWL) -

Schools across Iowa are facing times of tight budgets.  It's not just public schools that are struggling, as they cope with zero-percent allowable growth in this year's state funding.  Some small, rural private schools are also finding it hard to survive.

As populations in small communities like Readlyn have dwindled, so has enrollment in area schools.  At Community Lutheran, which relies mostly on donations to survive, that means it's harder to provide a modern education.

At Community Lutheran Schools, there are just seven teachers in grades K-8, educating a total of 50 students.  But the school believes it's still able to provide a quality classroom experience.

"We are here to provide the best education possible and also include the love of our Lord Jesus Christ," said Linda Jensen, Community Lutheran Schools principal.

But maintaining high standards for education isn't easy when there's a small budget to work with.  The school relies on a combination of fundraising, donations, and support from two local churches.  With shrinking enrollment and a tough economy, the money supply is only getting tighter.  That puts a pinch on recruiting staff and keeping classrooms up-to-date.

"It takes a lot of money to keep a school running.  And we have good teachers, and we want to keep those by providing very good salaries for them as well as the benefits.  And there's a lot of curriculum we need to have updated.  I certainly want to give my teachers the best professional development which will reach my students," Jensen said.

But the school remains optimistic.  Community Lutheran was recently able to buy i-Pads for the 7th and 8th grade classroom and would like to provide that kind of technology to more students.  Those kinds of upgrades just might be possible if the school's able to get enough community support to land a US Cellular grant it's applied for.

"It's all about our kids.  And we want to continue to give them everything that we can at our fingertips to keep them learning and being in an engaged environment of education," said Jensen.

But if the school doesn't get the grant, it will focus even more efforts into student recruitment so that Community Lutheran can stay in Readlyn for years to come.

US Cellular will be awarding a total of $1 million to 18 schools across the country.  Currently, Community Lutheran is the 15th top vote getter, so the school is hopeful it will be able to secure one of the available grants.

You can log on to vote for Community Lutheran Schools by clicking here.  Voting runs through October 6th.

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