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Controversy still swarms closed Christian school

With fewer than two months left until the end of the school year, and just four months left until the start of the 2013-2014 school year, parents at Dominion Academy are mobilizing to ensure their children have somewhere to go next year.

The parents have been left in a bind after School Board of Dominion Academy, a K-8 Christian school that has been in Loudoun for 16 years, announced plans to close at the conclusion of the school year. The decision was announced April 10 in a letter to parents.

According to the letter, the decision was prompted by the Leesburg Community Church, which owns the property containing the school.

“We regret to inform you that on March 27, 2013, the Board of Leesburg Community Church voted, after prayerful consideration, to discontinue its financial support for Dominion Academy, effective August 30, 2013,” the letter stated. It continued, “... the Board concluded unanimously that the school would be unable to fulfill programmatic goals and obligations for future academic years without the continued support and assistance of Leesburg Community Church.

The decision left parents reeling. Though Dominion Academy was a ministry of the church, they paid a building usage fee to utilize the space.

The confusion was doubled when parents were informed the church was marketing the space to prospective Christian schools and that Virginia Academy, a Christian school in Ashburn, had toured the building.

A group of parents from Dominion Academy have mobilized to try and re-start the school by the upcoming year. According to the “New Dominion Academy – Leesburg” Facebook page, they are considering three different spaces in Leesburg.

“We've progressed in the past week very well,” said Alan Calegari, who is co-chair of the New Dominion Academy's real estate committee. “We've narrowed it down to a couple facilities that would suit our needs."

According to Calegari, the group looked at 34 properties before narrowing it down three.

“We should be able to meet the requirements for a Sept. 3 opening,” Calegari said.

Though rumors have circulated that Virginia Academy has signed an agreement to utilize the space at Leesburg Community Church, Headmaster Fred Snowden stated that is not true.

“Our interest is that there were going to be Christian students without a school and Christian teachers without a place to teach,” Snowden said.

Snowden added that now that he has discovered that the former Dominion families would like to start a new school, Virginia Academy will likely not pursue expanding to a new space.

“If that's really the case, we're probably going to bow out,” Snowden said. “When we looked at the space, we didn't know that was happening. We just wanted to help.”

Thus far, both Leesburg Community Church and Dominion Academy board members have been unable to be reached for comment.

Headmaster Carson Rich, after refusing to return phone calls, stated in person that he “had nothing to say then and doesn't have anything to say now.”

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