New Birth Christian Academy to reopen Thursday

by: Tom Jones Updated:

Bishop Eddie Long spoke at a Jan. 18, 2012, news conference.
LITHONIA, Ga.,None —

The financially strapped New Birth Christian Academy announced it is re-opening, thanks to a new partnership with a local private entity called the Aurora Schools.

The academy, located on the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church grounds in Lithonia, suddenly shut down recently.

"We operated New Birth Christian Academy for years at a deficit," Bishop Eddie Long said at a news conference at the private school.

Long blamed the recession for the school's woes.

But he said brighter days are ahead as Aurora Schools has agreed to come in help point the academy in the right direction.

"There are new methods and ways of creating more leaner, more efficient ways of delivering high-quality education and continuing a faith based mission," Aurora Schools Founder Kellie Huff said.

Long apologized for suddenly closing the school, sending parents scrambling to enroll their children in new schools.

"I do want to ... just as I'm out here with you at this moment ... make an apology. Our parents had to go through many shifting and even the staff in the last moments as we had to make a tough decision," Long said.

Long slipped out of the news conference and did not take questions from reporters.


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Aurora officials said the K-12 private academy had 79 students when it closed.

"I think we would be very happy if we see 40 to 50 students return," Bill Aragon said.

One of them will be Kya Wilson.

Wilson had to enroll in a public school when the academy closed. She said it wasn't a good experience.

"When I went to public school it was the worst thing ever. Guys sagging their pants, there's gang violence," Wilson said. "I think it's the best thing ever," she said when asked about the re-opening.

Her grandmother agreed with her.

"New Birth is the place to come you get spiritual guidance. You get an education and you get fed. Anybody that come here and be under Bishop Eddie Long, they're fed," Colleen Beckles said.

The school opens on Thursday. Officials said an undisclosed number of teachers and support staff were let go because of the lower-than-expected student population.