Chesapeake private school forced to close doors after enrollment declines

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - In one room inside Cornerstone Christian School in Chesapeake is where Carson Amos learned how to read and write.

“This room was our classroom,” said the rising first grader of where he completed kindergarten.

He’s on his way to first grade next month, but it won’t be here. Cornerstone Christian will not open this fall.

Cornerstone Christian School

“Enrollment has been down for a little while now. We’ve been tracking it, and of course with enrollment, our finances have been dwindling a bit,” said Jake Tromburg, the chairman of the school board.

Last school year ended with about 60 children and seven teachers, including Carson’s mother.

“This was actually one of my first contracted positions as a teacher, so that was very exciting,” said Stacey Amos.

Stacey attended the school, which opened in the 1960s, for preschool and kindergarten. It also holds a special place in her heart.

“When my husband went into the hospital in October, Cornerstone stepped up and they took care of us and it was like family,” said Amos.

Her husband, former Norfolk Police Officer Seth Amos, died last year after a lung failure. She says this school got her through.

“Cornerstone has been a light for my family, absolutely, in some of our most difficult times, for sure,” she adds.

At the moment, it's uncertain how soon kids will get to run up and down these hallways or go into the classroom, but leaders tell me Cornerstone will still be used as a vessel in this community.

“The school has always been involved in service projects, even here in the community as well, and that’s been a part of our lesson plan - is teaching the kids what it means to serve others,” says Tromburg.

Unlike other private schools, leaders here say tuition was cheap for a reason.

“It’s very important to us that the school is affordable because we believe that a Christian education should be available to anyone regardless of their economic status,” said Tromburg.

He says parents were informed about the decision to close in July. Since then, all the students and teachers have been able to find new classrooms.

Related: Suffolk schools looking to start before Labor Day, but should they? 

“We are hoping to reopen something in 2020-21 school year, but we are just going to take this time to think through what the Lord will have us do now.”

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