Private Birmingham school closes - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Private Birmingham school closes

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

With just a month left before school starts, parents at one private Birmingham school are afraid their children won't have a place to go. Last week, the school told parents it would close its doors this school year and Monday night, it held a meeting to explain why.

"This is surprising and shocking to us that we just found this information out last Thursday that the school would be closing," Randolph Lamkin, whose grandson attends New Hope Christian School said.

Travis and Janelle Brown send their first grade son to school at New Hope Christian. Since word of the school shutting down began to spread, they've been frantically searching for a new one with little success.

"There are a few other schools closing too so it's kind of hard, everyone is trying to get into a private school right now," Janelle Brown, a parent said.

Did they give you any idea why the school is closing?

"They said it was because of finances," Brown said. "They said it might open back up next year."

And for others, switching to public schools isn't an option right now.

"With the problems of the city and the Birmingham Board of Education, and the city school system, we'd rather not get in that mix," Lamkin said.

Parents tell us, New Hope Pastor Gregory Clarke is also the school's superintendent. He declined an interview about the changes.

"I think the pastor is doing something that is quite underhanded and we don't understand," Stephania Lamkin, a grandparent said. "He's not giving us a chance for our children to find a place to go and most private schools are already filled."

School leaders did not allow us in the meeting, but parents say they explained that since 1996, the school has been operated by the church. This year, the school pursued state funding and couldn't get their finances in order before the school start date leaving families on a last minute search for a new campus.