According to the AJC, New Birth Christian Academy is closing after 18 years, sending more than 200 students scrambling to find a new school by next week.
The academy, founded by Bishop Eddie Long, informed parents in a letter dated Dec. 22 that the private school’s “funding estimates fall far short of our projected needs. It is a very sad occasion, as the NBCA board has made the tough decision to temporarily close the school.”
The pre-K-12 school has an enrollment of 221, according to the Georgia Independent School Association, and employs 20 teachers. Just a few years ago, the academy boasted of having one teacher for every eight students.
“We have operated New Birth Christian Academy for several years with substantial deficits in hopes that the national economic climate would change, however, that change never materialized,” said to the letter signed by Carlton Donald, the board’s vice-chair.
Tuition at the school ranged from $5,253 for New Birth members to $6,198 for non-members with more than $1,000 in non-refundable fees, according to the academy’s website.
Donald said staff will help students find a new school to attend.
The news caps a tumultuous year for Long. In May he settled a sexual coercion suit filed against him by four former New Birth members. Earlier this month, his wife of 21 years, Vanessa, filed for divorce, leading the bishop to take some time off from his pastoral duties to tend to “family business,” he said. Long remains New Birth’s senior pastor.