July 03, 2013 - A new school could be coming to the Village of Oxford.
Oxford United Methodist Church (OUMC) has agreed to negotiate a lease to provide space to Breyleigh Christian School, a new tuition-based school that would serve K-8 students of all denominations.
"It would be open to everyone," said Mayville resident Marilyn Campbell, a spokesperson for Breyleigh, which means "ray of hope."
Barry Moser, a church trustee, explained that OUMC is not planning to construct any additions to accommodate the school.
Approximately 5,200 square feet of existing space would be used for classrooms to house a maximum of 80 students.
"This gives them a home," Moser said. "It's a good fit. Our use of the facility is mostly nights and weekends."
OUMC, located at 21 E. Burdick St., would not operate the school or influence its curriculum. The independent school would simply be a tenant.
Charlie Garrard, who's chairman of the church trustees and a voting member of the church council, indicated OUMC is looking to charge Breyleigh just enough to cover expenses such as utilities, building maintenance and insurance.
"We're not trying to make money on the deal. We just want to make sure that we cover our bills," he said.
"We're trying to give this Christian school a chance and hopefully, we'll get some of the parents and the kids to come to church on Sunday and be part of our church family. That's what we're hoping will happen."
Because the property on which the church sits is zoned residential (R-1), schools are not a principal permitted use there, but they're also not a prohibited use.
In order for Breyleigh to operate there, OUMC must receive special land use approval from the village planning commission.
An informational presentation regarding the proposed school was made at the July 2 planning commission meeting.
Before any decisions are made, the planning commission must conduct a public hearing on the matter.
"I've not heard any negative comments yet," Moser noted. "Most people that we've talked to are in favor of it."
Campbell, who may become the principal, couldn't provide many specifics about Breyleigh at this point because the school is still in the process of being formed.
"We don't have a staff. We don't have a (school) board yet," said Campbell, who noted "all of that will be defined very quickly once we know we've got the go-ahead."
Basically, everything hinges on whether or not the school will be allowed to establish itself at OUMC, she said.
"If everything falls into place," Campbell, who has more than 35 years experience as a public school teacher and administrator, said the plan is to open Breyleigh this fall.
Parents who wish to have their childrenattend a Christian school are the impetus behind this new institution.
"Oxford has a wonderful public school system, but as always, there are some parents, and certainly some children, that want a Christian education," Campbell said.
"It's just another way for Oxford to service another group of kids. Oxford certainly services many, many children. This would be just another avenue to do that."
Housing this school fits with OUMC's goal of finding ways "to better serve the community," according to Moser.
It could also help increase the size of the church's congregation.
"Sometimes parents will go to the church where their kids go to school, so that benefits us," Moser said.
"It should be good for our church," Garrard said.
Moser believes the school would also benefit the downtown area as well because parents transporting their kids to and from Breyleigh would be exposed to local businesses. The school would not utilize buses.
"If there are more people coming downtown, then there's obvious potential use of restaurants and stores," he said. "We don't see any negatives at all."
Folks who wish to learn more about Breyleigh Christian School are welcome to e-mail Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.