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New Summit School parents brace for closure, teachers not paid

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:50 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Concerns are growing among parents of students at New Summit School who believe closure is imminent.

Meanwhile, teachers say they have gone without pay. This news comes as the operators of the school, Nancy and Zach New, face indictment charges on fraud claims and identity theft.

“I’m worried for the children of Mississippi. I mean, they don’t have options,” said Candy Brown.

The New Summit School parent says she was notified that students would not be attending the school’s Jackson campus in the fall. Her son Collin has language auditory disorder and is high-functioning autistic. He is a junior and began attending the school in sixth grade.

New Summit offers classes for students with special academic needs from dyslexia to autism.

“These kids are going to have to go into other private schools that may or may not have classes for special education,” said Brown. “Some of these children will have to be placed back into public schools. Obviously they’re there because their district wasn’t able to provide them with the services that they needed.”

High School Career teacher Ashley Sheppard said they have not been paid since May 15. She said a July 1 email from custodian Gary Herring stated that they were free to file unemployment. It said their contract had been broken by New Learning Resources.

Nancy and Zach New ran New Learning Resources which operates the Jackson, Greenwood and Hattiesburg schools. The News are under indictment for intentionally filing fraudulent claims to get reimbursed by the Department of Education, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

“What has happened with New Summit is obviously terrible, but this school is allowing these student to flourish,” added Brown.

Interim Executive Director Ray Balentine has not responded to a request for comment.

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