Missionaries came to the isolated Kentucky mountains in 1921 with the vision to provide children a quality, secondary education in a Christian environment that would give them more opportunities in life. After wrestling with the fact that annual contributions and dwindling reserves can no longer cover the cost of operating a K-12 school, a quorum of the board of directors voted March 11 to reconfigure Red Bird Mission School as a 7-12 secondary school in 2010-11 academic year. It is expected that approximately 130 students living in the Red Bird Valley will continue in these grades.
The poverty rate among children in the counties served by Red Bird School ranges between 40% and 50% which means their families cannot support the cost of tuition. The board of directors will increase its personal contributions but will also need increased charitable support from alumni, church and other individuals interested in providing educational opportunity for students in Appalachian communities served by Red Bird Mission. The board's finance committee will also examine the new budget to determine if expenses can be reduced even further than the initial budget proposed for the newly configured school.
The Mission's board will promote its Building on a Legacy of Faith initiative as a vehicle for inviting new donors to a consistent, long-term support partnership with Red Bird Mission. Legacy partners will play an instrumental role in fulfilling the mission statement: "Red Bird Mission, guided by Jesus Christ, empowers individuals and advocates justice by providing spiritual, educational, health, and community outreach ministries."