Wenatchee Church Raises More Than $15 Million For K-12 School
Wenatchee's Grace City Church in Sunnyslope will open a K-through 12 school in the fall after raising more $15 million from donations and pledges.
Church Pastor Josh McPherson first announced the funding during an interview on KPQ's The Agenda program earlier this month.
McPherson said everywhere Christians go, they plant churches, start schools and build hospitals.
He said the intent with the new "Garden City Academy" is to create more opportunities for education in the Wenatchee Valley where there's a market for more options.
The school will open next fall with roughly 30 full time employees who are leaving existing jobs.
McPherson said the goal was to raise $10 million through collections for the school during Sunday church services and through two years pledges from church and community members.
He said $177,000 was raised by seventh through 12th grade students alone.
The miracle goal of $12 million would cover all start-up costs., but ultimately more $15 was raised.
"It's humbling. It's awe inspiring. I would use the word miraculous. I don't understand how it happened. the math doesn't work out, It's cosmic math," said McPherson. "It wasn't 20 percent of the people doing 80 percent of the lifting. It was over 850 pledges, over 1,700 individuals giving what they could, and it just adds up."
The startup costs will not cover daily operations of the school, which will be funded by tuition families will pay and a scholarship program.
McPherson said they have a two-pronged approach to the staff, with hired staff members as well as a legacy staff made up of retired people and individuals not needing income offering their services for free.
Students will be able to complete close to two years of college credits while enrolled in high school through Dual Credit and/or AP courses.
Garden City Academy will offer:
- 5-day per week, K-12 school with full time faculty and staff, beginning fall ‘24
- 2-day per week, K-6 homeschool co-op with volunteer parent-tutors, beginning fall ‘24
- Online program (hoping to offer sometime in future, currently in development)
For middle and high school students, the school is in the process of applying to the WIAA and plan to offer WIAA sanctioned sports.
For the first year, there are plans for boys and girls cross country, girls volleyball, boys and girls track, and boys and girls golf although exact sports offerings have not been finalized. The sports programs will have the nickname The Farmer's.
Former Wenatchee Wild Associate Head Coach Ryan McKelvie will be the school's headmaster.
He said the school will meet the standard requirement in Washington State for private schools to offer 1,000 hours of instruction. The school year will start after Labor Day and finish before Memorial Day.
McKelvie said given the size of the facilities they'll have, they're expecting 260 students to start off in September, divided into about 20 students per grade.
McPherson said they envision eventually having campus locations for elementary schools in Leavenworth, Cashmere and Quincy while centralizing secondary education at a single 25–30-acre site with a sports complex and fields, a performing arts center and entrepreneurial think tanks. No land has yet been secured for the site.
About 60 percent of the student education costs will be covered by the ACE scholarship (Accelerating Christian Education), which is made available through individual and business donations.
Tuition will be $4,900 for elementary school students, broken down to $408.33 per month. Costs increase for secondary education, peaking with 12th grade tuition being $8,900, or $741.67 per month.
Grace City started up its education process last year with the opening of the church opened Vector Academy last year, a one-year post-high school Bible school.