Tiny private school stands out for taking anyone, charging nothing

Doug Erickson

As the Rev. Richard Sunderlage entered the elementary classroom at Resurrection Lutheran School one recent morning, all five students shot up out of their desks.
Students at the school are required to stand whenever an adult enters the room. They also must address their elders as “ma’am” or “sir.”
Such rules set the school apart, but so do many other things. It is tiny — just 12 students in first grade through high school — and it is not affiliated with a church. Even rarer, it charges no tuition or fees.
“We don’t want there to be any barriers,” said Sunderlage, the school’s driving force.
Now in its third year, the school appears to be the only no-tuition, no-fees, first-through-12th-grade private school in the state. Matt Kussow, executive director of the Wisconsin Council of Religious & Independent Schools, said he is not aware of any others.
Good Shepherd Lutheran School in Wisconsin Rapids also is tuition-free, but it stops at eighth grade, charges a book fee and caps enrollment at 15. Resurrection Lutheran turns no one away. It has had as many as 33 students and could hold up to 100.