New Life Schools will close on June 30

Published 11:55 am Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Facing financial and enrollment struggles, New Life Schools in southern Cumberland County will close on June 30.

“We have not met our ( fundraising) goal,” said school administrator Betty Lou Weaver. “Therefore, we will be closing June 30. Day care will continue.”

“We were not able to get past $46,000,” she said. The staff of 12 will be laid off, Weaver said.

The school was recently given a revised May 1 deadline to raise $100,000 and enroll several new students in order to keep its doors open.

The school tentatively enrolled 17 new students in the last several weeks, Weaver said of the closure. “That’s not enough. The money had to come first,” she said. “So, we are closing on June 30.”

“Although we did not raise the $100,000 needed to continue New Life School, we are in prayerful conversations about the possibilities of having a thriving Christian school for Farmville in the future,” said New Life Assembly of God Pastor Bill McIntosh. “In the meantime, we are praying for God’s guidance and direction for our students and teachers as they make plans for the next school year … We believe the best is yet to come.”

Weaver said that graduation at the school is set for May 20.

“Well, I feel that there’s a season for everything. And we have had great success with our school. We have planted seeds all over the world,” Weaver said. “I believe our influence is actually going around the world. I feel the season’s over, and I’m at peace.”

“Our board met in February,” Weaver told The Herald in March, “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.”

The school currently has about 50 students enrolled. The goal was to have about 78 students enrolled for next year, she said.

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

According to Weaver, the board told her in March, “‘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.”

“We have been as high, within the last five years, as 100-120 (students). In the last three years, we’ve gone from like 95 to 85 to 75,” Weaver said. “And this year, we started around 50. We’ve lost a few.”

The day care program for children ages 2-4 won’t be affected by the closure, Weaver said.

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.