Religious Education Program At Risk

By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email
By: Anna-Lysa Gayle Email

WAYNESBORO -- A seven decade old religious education program could be out of money next school year. The program located off school grounds has been passed down for generations in Waynesboro.

It's the age old debate, the separation of church and state. A challenge that continues in the classroom.

"I'm sorry that it had to come to that, but in a nation where there is so many different influences and so many different types of religions that it almost has to be," said Nina Knopp, a teacher with the Waynesboro Weekday Religious Education program.

Lisa Knopp has taught the weekday religious education program for nineteen years. She's seeing the religious program face another challenge. The program which relies completely on donations is in jeopardy, if it doesn't come up with more than thirty thousand dollars.

"Now we've been dipping into savings and it's critically low and would not cover even starting the next couple of months." said Pam Stoneburner, the President of the WRE Council.

"We're very thankful that we have the dedicated people who work with our kids. We have bus costs, because we have to transfer our students," said Stoneburner.

All that added up to more than fifty-thousand dollars last year.

The program is taught off schools grounds to ensure that there is a separation of church and state.
"Half of our kids have no church affiliation and so that means they've never heard the word of god at all," said Knopp.

Knopp said the program is more than just about religion, it also provides therapy for some students.

Donations are being accepted by mail. They can be sent to P.O. Box 613, Waynesboro, VA 22980.

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