Bishop Eddie Long is back, and so is the New Birth Academy.
New Birth Missionary Baptist Church announced plans to reopen its New Birth Academy on Thursday, Jan. 19, about a month after it announced it had closed its doors after Bishop Long founded it 18 years ago.
The suburban Atlanta school’s closing in late December forced hundreds of students and parents to scramble to find alternative scholastic accommodations. The church’s rationale for the abrupt closing was the sluggish economy and low enrollment. Others, however, placed blame at the feet of the scandal-plagued pastor.
New Birth spokesman Art Franklin said it was announced at worship services on Sunday, Jan. 15 that the academy will reopen with the assistance of nearby Aurora Day School. Franklin didn’t provide particulars about Aurora Day School’s role in the academy’s operations, which has campuses in Roswell and Tucker, but did say there will be more information at a press conference later in the week.
Parents whose children were enrolled at New Birth have until Wednesday, Jan. 18 to re-enroll at New Birth between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Franklin did not disclose what the teacher-student ratio would be. But the pre-kindergarten-12 school had an enrollment of 221, according to the Georgia Independent School Association, and employed 20 teachers. It wasn’t that long ago that the church academy boasted that it had one teacher for every eight students.
The original school’s closing capped a horrific year for Long and the New Birth congregation. Long settled out of court after claiming that he would fight the lawsuit of four young males who accused him of coercing them into homosexual sex acts. Long was also the subject of a class-action lawsuit when many church members lost their life’s savings after they were allegedly lured into a shady deal with a questionable businessman that Long invited to the church. Also, Long’s wife, Vanessa, filed for divorce in early December of 2011. Long announced a self-imposed moratorium from the pulpit to address the myriad personal and family problems. –terry shropshire