International (MNN) — Black Forest Academy (BFA) exists to make
sure that missionary kids get a good education.
Specifically, the school–located in south Germany–serves the
children of international Christian workers and international business families
who want a North American curriculum that incorporates an evangelical worldview.
The reputation of the school has grown over the years, but recent
events threaten to undermine what the school is doing.
33 years ago, the United States signed
a treaty with Germany which defined the interactions of the German and U.S.
Social Security systems. It boils
down to this: if a U.S. citizen works in Germany for a short term–less than five
years, that person remains under the U.S. Social Security system.
However, if the worker works in
Germany longer than five years, that worker must enter the German social system.
The reverse is true for German citizens working in the U.S. Treaties like this, called "totalization
agreements," exist between the U.S. and 24 other countries.
You might ask, "What does this have to
do with BFA?" In 1979, Black Forest
Academy workers were all short-term people. However, in those three decades, many academy
faculty and staff have become long-term teachers but have still paid into the
U.S. Social Security system.
This may create future problems for
the expatriates who will eventually be retiring, so BFA decided it will come
into literal compliance with the treaty by next summer. This means that all of
its teachers may serve no more than five years and must then be out of Germany
for at least a year and a day.
Since many faculty and staff have been
with BFA for the full term of five years, a huge staff turnover is expected in
the near future.
BFA is working to keep the daily class schedule from too much
interruption, but it is likely they'll be short-staffed for next year. The Evangelical Alliance Mission is actively
involved in the process, but a number of their staff members will be returning
to the U.S. for Home Assignment. Ask God to provide the faculty and staff
members needed to fill the gaps at BFA.
There's more about the school at our Featured Links section.