A Private School Parent's Nightmare
This is a parent’s school nightmare:
You decide that your local public school is not what you want for your child, and you find the money to pay tuition at a private religious school.
One morning when you drop your child off for class, you learn that the school is in so much financial trouble that it is soon to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Nobody had told you earlier that the school was in any financial difficulty.
This is what happened to the parents of 150 students at the Progressive Christian Academy in Temple Hills, Md., where annual tuition starts at starts at $5,895. The school and adjoining Baptist church are in foreclosure and scheduled to be auctioned on Sept. 22.
It turns out that the foreclosure notice was filed in April, according to court records. Two federal tax liens totaling $619,761 were levied against Massey on Aug. 27, records show. The school never told the parents.
Pastor Don deJuan Massey, the founder and operator of the school and church, said this week that the school would not be sold because God would intervene.
A human being should have intervened before things got to this stage.
Private schools, religious and non-religious, have under state laws great discretion over how they operate and what they teach. The government doesn’t get involved. It shouldn't. But is it too much to ask of private and parochial schools that, at the very least, they tell parents when tax liens are levied against them?
This isn’t the first time a school in the Washington area has been thrown into financial chaos during the school year.
In June 2007 Rock Creek International School, known for its dual-language immersion programs, closed after several months in which parents struggled to keep the doors open. Parents said they only learned in January 2007 that the school faced closure.
The founder and operator of the school had been forced to resign two years earlier, but then went on to open another private school in the District, which has since been forced to close.
Parents have a right to know what financial shape their schools are in. States and the D.C. government can make sure that happens.
Progressive Christian Academy parents: Please email with more information and their thoughts about the scheduled auction.
| September 11, 2009; 11:43 AM ET
Categories: Private Schools | Tags: Progressive Christian Academy, parochial schools, private schools
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