I have just read the enclosed letter from Garner Ted Armstrong, and also a few of the teachers' reports. To say that I was shocked, and deeply hurt is putting it mildly. I should have felt constrained to take up in Ministerial Council the question of whether it is not God's will that we simply close the Imperial schools completely, had I not found, on questioning, that the serious situations brought out in this letter and the two or three case-histories I looked over, involved only a very small minority of you parents whose children are in the schools of God's Church.
Even though most of you are not involved, and I am informed that the attitude of most of you is very co-operative, still I feel impelled to write all parents of our school pupils a few words personally.
I feel strongly that most of you do not realize how these schools have grown and expanded, and the tremendous FINANCIAL BURDEN they are putting on God's Work. These schools started with just two teachers and one part-time helper in teaching. The start was in the Tabernacle at Gladewater. The thought at the time was that it would not involve additional expense. The minister sent as Pastor of the Church and his wife were the teachers. Existing facilities were used. But the school at Gladewater grew, and we started the schools at Pasadena. Today at Pasadena we have 12 class rooms—one for every grade through high school, besides a library room, and a separate building for administration offices. We have a LARGE payroll of teachers, all highly trained, qualified, competent, and administrative officers beside.
At Pasadena we have plans for a new PLANT, with one building for High School, and another for the grades—new and ultra modern—that will involve the purchase of several additional acres of ground made possible by the purchase of many houses and lots, wrecking the houses, and erecting our own buildings and play- grounds. This will cost in the neighborhood of a half-million dollars. The City of Pasadena authorities will insist that we provide this, and vacate our present remodeled houses being used within some two years from now. The payroll of these two schools reaches a really staggering sum. I am informed by our auditor and financial advisor that our payroll for the entire work has gotten almost out of hand, and is out of all proportion to the income and expenditures for other purposes.
Some of you pay a certain tuition, and some seem unable to pay any, or very little. But in no case does any of you pay even a fraction of the actual cost of providing this education for your children. The lion's share of the cost of educating your children must be borne by other Brethren or Co-Workers whose children are not receiving any of this benefit. All this money COULD go into the WORK OF GOD, buying time on a few more important radio stations and PROCLAIMING CHRIST'S GOSPEL TO HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN PARTS OF THE WORLD NOT NOW BEING REACHED.
Now Brethren, in my position directly accountable to Jesus Christ, the HEAD of this Church, and knowing I shall have to give account and be very strictly judged, I think in all frankness you can see that I do feel, personally, VERY RELUCTANT to let these Imperial Schools continue in existence any longer, at such cost, IF you Brethren do not appreciate them enough to want to co- operate. It is a HEAVY BURDEN, not only in money, but to those of us responsible for oversight and direction of these schools, taken FROM the work of CHRIST'S GREAT COMMISSION of getting the GOSPEL to the world, and for the benefit of A VERY FEW OF YOU.
To the very few of you who have griped, criticized, and failed to cooperate, let me tell you in PLAINEST LANGUAGE, I am completely ASHAMED OF YOU, and I have to pray to God and intercede for Him to be merciful toward you and make allowance for a lack of complete understanding before He punishes you or shuts you out of His Kingdom! And if you who are guilty of this do not rectify it immediately, I shall see that your children are removed from sharing in this great and costly benefit—and if your attitude remains rebellious to the authority of GOD in His Church and we see that God has removed you from His Church, you will be denied fellowship. And in this God is no respecter of persons. Let me make it PLAIN! IF one of these very few guilty parents should be my son, and Vice President of God's Church, Garner Ted Armstrong, he would be dealt with in exactly the same manner. The difference is, that he well knows it, and is very careful of his conduct—and that, and not being my son, is THE REASON that Jesus Christ has put him in the position he occupies!
At the general annual Ministers' Conference I came into a meeting already in progress and found them discussing the matter of organizing another elementary school and high school in Chicago. I realized the other ministers did not know, as I did, the financial problem, and how our payroll had gotten out of hand. I immediately called a halt, explained how utterly IMPOSSIBLE it is to start a third system of schools at this time, and the subject was dropped. The Chicago Brethren must be deprived of the school. which YOUR children enjoy.
We KNOW—by the actual tests of the public schools—that our fourth grade children are equal in progress and ability with the sixth graders in the public schools. We KNOW, in absolute FACT, that these Imperial Schools your children are privileged to attend are FAR SUPERIOR to the public schools. Your children are obtaining a far superior education. And DISCIPLINE is the principle reason. I hope your feelings won't be hard toward me, but I am answerable to Jesus Christ, and I TREMBLE IN FEAR over the authority that is over me, and by HIS AUTHORITY I simply have to say that unless these schools are really APPRECIATED, and receive your FULLEST co-operation, they will have to be closed and the large sums of money put in the WORK. Personally, I am simply heartsick over this.
I would like to know WHETHER you really do appreciate this SUPERIOR quality of education provided your children enough to want it continued. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT IT?