by: Eric Philips Updated:DEKALB COUNTY, Ga.,None —
After a recent shutdown, the financially-strapped New Birth Christian Academy will reopen its doors Thursday without much of the staff it once had.
The academy is located on the grounds of megachurch New Birth Missionary Baptist in Lithonia, led by famed Bishop Eddie Long.
"We felt very disrespected, very hurt, somewhat betrayed by the fact that you closed like that and here you are opening again," a former teacher told Channel 2 reporter Eric Philips.
The teacher, who asked to be unnamed, said what has happened at the school over last several weeks has been unprofessional to say the least.
"It leaves a very bad taste in your mouth," the teacher said.
She said teachers at the school were as blindsided by its sudden closing in December as parents and students were. Then, she got her official letter of separation by certified mail on Saturday. That was the day before Long announced during service that the school would be reopening thanks to a new partnership with the Aurora Day School.
"It felt like we were just pawns in this whole situation," the teacher said.
During a Wednesday news conference announcing the school’s reopening, Long celebrated the swift action. The school will be operating on a leaner budget "By restructuring the teacher population and the administrative support staff," Aurora Day School financial consultant Michael Elkourie said.
The teacher who interviewed with Philips is a casualty of that restructuring. She said her phone has been ringing off the hook with parents who thought word of the school's reopening meant she'd gotten her job back.
"The way we were dismissed and treated, it was like you were nothing," the teacher said.
School officials said interest in the newly reopened school is greater than even they anticipated. They said they hope to enroll 40 to 50 students this semester. They also said New Birth Christian Academy's tuition will not increase and the school's mission will not change.