Dominion Academy, a private Christian school in Leesburg, announced April 10 that it will be shutting down at the conclusion of this school year.
A ministry of the Leesburg Community Church, Dominion Academy opened 16 years ago.
But while school officials claim the decision to close the school is based on decreasing enrollment numbers, some say the cause lies elsewhere.
A press release sent out by Dominion Academy April 10 said enrollment for the school dropped from 300 in 2005 to 234 this year with just 115 students enrolled for next year. Officials attributed low enrollment to the recession.
Two anonymous sources close with the school, including a parent, say enrollment was not an issue. A correction issued April 11 pegged next year's enrollment at 218, with 115 of them setting up online financial plans thus far. The plans are not due until May 1.
According to the sources, the trouble arose at a Parent Teacher Fellowship meeting last month. After the school announced a 7 percent tuition increase, parents inquired as to what prompted the raise.
“We were told it was for teacher raises,” the anonymous parent said. “That wasn't true.”
Three weeks later, the School Board announced its intent to shut the school down. None of the five School Board members have children in the school and four of the members also sit on the Leesburg Community Church Board.
Though Dominion Academy operates under the auspice of the Leesburg Community Church, the school technically pays rent to utilize the school space. The church has already begun shopping out the school's building to nearby schools, including Virginia Academy. Virginia Academy confirmed they are looking at the property.
For now, administrators, teachers and parents at Dominion Academy are searching for a new location in hopes of reopening the school this fall.
They've found some leads thus far and hope to have a building for next year's school, which will lose the Dominion Academy name, in two weeks.
“We feel strongly God is working to make a happen,” one of the sources said.
Headmaster Carson Rich and academic officer Marie Miller just took over in their respective positions this fall. Thus far, Rich has not responded to calls from the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
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