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New Life Schools could close, April 1 deadline set to raise $100K


New Life Schools in Cumberland is set to close on June 30 if administrators and supporters can’t raise $100,000 by April 1.

“It’s potential right now,” said school administrator Betty Lou Weaver of the closure. “Our board met in February, our church board/school board, which is one in the same, and because we’ve been losing enrollment over the last three years, we just don’t have enough student enrollment to carry it on like it’s been going.”

Twelve people are employed at the school, she said.

The private school — affiliated with New Life Assembly of God just north of Farmville on Route 45 — offers a K-12 education.

She said the board said “‘Betty, if you can raise $100,000 between now and the end of school, you can continue. If you cannot, we’re going to have to close.’ Because that would get us out of debt and also do the necessary computer, technology upgrades.”

The April 1 deadline for raising the $100,000 is arbitrary, she said, “because April 1 is kind of the last date I can wait before we start pushing for enrollment. So, if I don’t have the $100,000 by April 1, then we’re going to proceed with closing the school down.”

The school has raised about $35,000 so far, she said.

New Life currently has about 46 students — not including day care — she said. “We were up to, well, what we need is 72. We have been as high, within the last five years, as 100-120. In the last three years, we’ve gone from like 95 to 85 to 75. And this year, we started around 50. We’ve lost a few.”

The day care program for children ages 2-4 wouldn’t be affected by the closure, Weaver said. “We’re definitely keeping that one going.”

“We are in the Capital Area Consortium for sports,” she said. “We have a very strong athletic program.”

If the decision were made to close the school, “We will continue through this school year, which will take us through May 20,” she said. “The actual official closing date would be June 30 because our school year runs July 1 through June 30.”

New Life Schools has been in operation for 31 years, she said. The school began offering education through the eighth grade. “We built the K-12, our first graduating class was 2005,” Weaver said.

“My parents are working hard right now. My teacher, my staff, our church, we’re spreading the word. We’ve got some fundraisers coming up … I will know by April 1 whether or not we’re going to continue.”