The Van Wert County Courthouse

Friday, Oct. 7, 2022

VWCS religious classes sought

Van Wert independent/contributor content

Both Crestview and Lincolnview school districts have had voluntary off-site religious programs for elementary students for a number of years; now a Van Wert couple is seeking to establish a similar program in the Van Wert City Schools.

To judge interest in the project, an informational meeting has been scheduled for this coming Monday, December 13, at 7 p.m. in the First Federal Lecture Hall of the Niswonger Performing Arts Center. One purpose of the meeting is to inform the public about the creation and implementation of a religious education program designed to benefit elementary students at Van Wert City Schools.

The meeting will also serve as an opportunity for the public to ask questions, to volunteer, and to otherwise provide input and insight for this project.

The program is known as “Cross Over the Hill” and is a voluntary Christian education program designed to provide Van Wert elementary students with an opportunity to learn about the Bible and the Christian faith.

“We have witnessed the benefits of such a release time program through Crestview’s Heritage Bible School and also Lincolnview Bible Board,” said co-founder Jill Putman. “After much prayer and consideration, we would like to bring these opportunities and benefits to the students of Van Wert elementary schools.”

The basic premise of the program is similar to that of the Crestview and Lincolnview programs: parents would voluntarily enroll elementary-age students for a period of time each week to be taught about the Christian faith.

The program is designed to commence with the opening of the new elementary school on the site of the current Van Wert middle and high school.

“The law allows for a period of release time during which children can voluntarily engage in religious education during the school day,” co-founder and local attorney Shaun Putman explained. “Crestview and Lincolnview already take advantage of this allowance. We would like Van Wert to likewise offer this program and to reap the benefits that Crestview and Lincolnview already enjoy.”

“A lot of work has already gone into this project,” said Jill Putman. “We have studied various other religious education programs, spoken with the leaders of these programs, met with numerous school administrative officials and the school board, launched a public relations component to ‘Cross Over the Hill,’ and are in the process of requesting 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit corporation.”

The land for the site of the program abuts the school’s property and is being donated and the next steps for organizers is to form a steering committee to begin finalizing details of the project and have it ready for the commencement of the 2012 school year.

District residents are invited to the informational meeting, and further encouraged to contact Jill Putman at 419.238.5963 if interested in volunteering or if they have questions they think might not be answered during the informational meeting.

POSTED: 12/09/10 at 9:07 am. FILED UNDER: News