After 18 years of operation, Bishop Eddie Long’s New Birth Christian Academy will close its doors indefinitely due to funding constraints, leaving hundreds of students without a school in the middle of the academic year.
The school informed parents of the impending closure in a letter dated Dec. 22, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. According to the letter, the private school founded by Long made the decision to close after "funding estimates [fell] far short of … projected needs.”
“It is a very sad occasion, as the NBCA board has made the tough decision to temporarily close the school,” the letter stated.
Over 200 students attended the school in grades preK-12 and the school employed 20 teachers. Officials in Atlanta’s Dekalb County, where the school is located, indicated that they would be available to help students find placement in other schools across the district.
"The DeKalb County School System will coordinate with any students looking to transition from private schools or other schools, as we would with any students transitioning with the start of the new semester," district spokesman Walter Woods told the AJC.
The schools closure is the latest tragedy to befall Long and New Birth Missionary Baptist Church after a year of public scandals, including his wife’s announcement of divorce, his sexual abuse accusers speaking out about details of the allegations against him, his involvement in a fraud lawsuit and his decision to take time away from his ministry.
Attending the New Birth Christian Academy cost $5,253 for New Birth members and $6,198 for non-members with all students shelling out upwards of an additional $1,000 in non-refundable fees for the school year. The school also received $10,000 monthly from the Dekalb County School District, who rents space to operate a local charter school. Still, school officials say that the academy has suffered greatly as a result of the country’s rough financial situation, a condition they hope will soon change, so that their doors may open again.
"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," wrote Carlton Donald, the board's vice chair. "We are doing everything in our power to reopen the school at some point in the near future.”
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(Photo: AP Photo/Gene Blythe, File)