New Birth Christian Academy closing

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/December 27, 2011

New Birth Christian Academy is shutting its doors, Channel 2 Action News reported Tuesday night.

The school, which enrolls students in kindergarten through the 12th grade, has been struggling financially for years, officials said.

The academy is affiliated with New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia and the embattled Bishop Eddie Long, but school officials told Channel 2 that the decision to close is not related to the sexual coercion allegations against him.

The school will not reopen after the holidays, the report said.

In a statement, school officials told Channel 2, "The deficit, along with the declining enrollment over the years, left the New Birth Christian Academy Board of Directors with no other option. The board has made the tough decision to temporarily close the school."

The letters sent to parents said the academy's staff will help students with relocation.

Earlier this month, Long announced that he was taking some time off to focus on his family but would remain the senior pastor of the church. His wife, Vanessa, had filed for divorce days earlier.

Four former New Birth members sued Long in September 2010, accusing him of taking them on trips and giving them gifts and jobs to coerce them into sexual relationships. The suit was settled in May.

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