Atlanta's New Birth Christian Academy students are now scrambling for a new place in which to learn after they were informed that their school will be shut down Jan. 4.
The school, founded by the controversial Bishop Eddie Long, fell short of funding estimates and enrollment for the year. The school board sent a letter to parents informing them of the closing, which will affect 221 students from pre-K to grade 12 and 20 teachers.
"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 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 nonmembers, according to the school's website.
Art Franklin, a spokesman for New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, said that the closing had nothing to do with the allegations against Long. At least one parent begged to differ.
"I don't believe that," she said to WBS-TV, which did not disclose her identity. "I believe that this last straw with the divorce, the sealed settlement, it just does not look good. I really believe that people continued to take their children out as each allegation unfolded month after month.
"Just like the parishioners have suffered, the children are now suffering," said the parent, who is also upset that the school gave such short notice.
The letter claimed that the administrators and teachers will help students find a new school.
While the school has to attribute the closing to the loss in funding and decreased enrollment, the root of it all is Long. His scandal had to have an effect on potential funders and parents. It will be interesting to see what crumbles next in Long's empire.
Read more at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.