Photo: The Hershey campus of Lancaster Mennonite School. Photo provided.
More than four years ago, Lancaster Mennonite and Hershey Christian schools entered negotiations and a planning process for Lancaster Mennonite to acquire Hershey Christian. Since the acquisition, enrollment at the Hershey campus of Lancaster Mennonite has been tenuous.
After four years of operation, the Lancaster Mennonite School board of directors, finance committee and administration determined sustainability of the Hershey campus of Lancaster Mennonite is no longer viable due to enrollment decline. The Hershey campus will close at the end of the 2018-19 school year.
Additional changes are taking place within the Lancaster Mennonite school system, which is a conference-related ministry of Atlantic Coast Conference. Lancaster Mennonite has experienced enrollment decline for more than 10 years and is in the process of creating a sustainable financial model for the future.
Starting July 1, the Kraybill campus of Lancaster Mennonite will operate independently.
Lancaster Mennonite will be reducing staff at other campuses.
In addition to the Kraybill and Hershey campuses, the Lancaster Mennonite school system is comprised of the Locust Grove campus (pre-kindergarten to grade 8), New Danville campus (pre-kindergarten to grade 5) and Lancaster campus (grades 6-8 and 9-12).
“We acknowledge the positive influence and history of Hershey Christian and Lancaster Mennonite in the lives of alumni and current students,” says Pam Tieszen, superintendent of Lancaster Mennonite. “Dedicated teachers and staff prepared students and gave a gift that will continue to live on. Lives have been shaped and transformed.”
Lancaster Mennonite’s model for the future includes an endowment of $9 million with an additional $3 million in non-school properties.
“Lancaster Mennonite maintains a strong academic and faith development program, an expectation embedded in the history of the school,” says Tieszen. “The board of directors and administration are using the financial restructure as an opportunity to envision a new future with a strong core.”