Eddie Long’s New Birth School to Close January 4; 221 Students Affected, But That’s Not All That’s Affected
More bad news for Eddie Long and for New Birth. The walls are tumbling down. From The Root:
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 WSB-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.
That is what is really outrageous: that they let the remaining parents and children know this information on such short notice, when everyone is on vacation. According to CBS Atlanta News, one parent claimed that Long himself had promised parents that the 18-year-old school would remain open. Why didn’t they tell people as early as the summer that they could not complete another entire school year? Do you know what this looks like?
New Birth took their money—-and ran.
More well-heeled private schools charge far more than the New Birth academy per year. However, imagine how this impacts a family that is probably living on one income in this tenuous economy, and over five thousand dollars a year for tuition is still a lot of money to them. Then, compare how it would be for well-heeled parents (who would pay $12-$25,000 per year or more) to find out that their child’s school is shutting down practically overnight, the pupils forced to find schooling elsewhere. Whether in furs and bling or in designer teeshirts and jeans, these parents would be pounding on the doors of the school demanding their money back and filing lawsuits accusing
New Birth the school administrators and trustees of fraud.
The DeKalb County school district runs a nearby charter school called Leadership Preparatory Academy for children in grades K through 5, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. No doubt, there are other parochial, private and public schools in the area, but will they be able to absorb them all? What about the older children in junior high and in high school? While Donald claims that New Birth will assist parents in placing their children elsewhere, many doubt that the administrators will truly lend any helpful hand, if they were so close-mouthed in revealing the school’s true state of affairs.
Again, the whole episode looks very fly-by-night, but it looks a lot like the secretive and unaccountable manner in which Long has been operating for over twenty years. I doubt that the closure is truly temporary as Donald writes in his letter to the parents, but permanent.
Disillusionment with and distrust of New Birth and with Bishop Eddie Long is continuing to affect parishioners and supporters alike.
The long death of the ministry of Bishop Eddie Long continues.