by: Richard Elliot Updated:
LITHONIA, Ga. - New Birth Missionary Baptist Church confirms it will close down its Christian Academy at the end of this school year, citing a bad economy and low enrollment.
"The closing of Faith Community Christian Academy ends an era for one of Georgia's premier Christian schools," school officials said in a written statement.
The academy, located on New Birth church grounds in Lithonia, suddenly closed in January 2012 due to economic troubles, but reopened shortly after with help from a new partnership with a local private entity called the Aurora Schools. But it doesn't appear to be enough to save the school this time.
According to New Birth's website, the school opened in 1993 as New Birth Christian Academy, and at one time boasted an enrollment of more than 200 students. But a church spokesperson said the current enrollment is at about 40, not nearly enough to be able to keep the school economically viable.
He said this is a growing trend among private Christian academies as more and more of them are hit with economic hardships. The church does not believe the problems are related to the controversy surrounding church founder Bishop Eddie Long and allegations of sexual abuse.
"We understand the impact this decision will have on the students and staff," the statement read. "But we are optimistic that the timing of the closing provides students, teachers and staff with sufficient time to transition to other schools."
Church officials announced in December 2011 that New Birth Christian Academy would close its doors effectively immediately, but a few months later, Long himself announced a new partnership with a school management company they hoped would keep the school open under the name Faith Community Christian Academy.
New Birth promised to help parents and students transition to other schools for next year.
"FCCA will assist parents in anyway that it can to make this an easy transition for all families involved," the statement read.