POWELL, Ohio (WCMH) – A sad and frustrating week for employees and families at Village Academy is ending on an uncertain note.
Thursday, staff was given six hours to pack up belongings from and return materials to the private pre-K through 12th grade school in Powell. Alumni and current students pitched in to carry boxes and walk the halls one last time.
“It’s just really sad news to hear the school you’ve been at your entire life is closing. You don’t want to hear that,” said Ellie Newman, a 2019 Village Academy graduate.
The board of trustees announced the closure in a message Monday evening. It said despite efforts to cut costs, declining enrollment and a lack of charitable giving could not sustain the school’s operations.
Many parents blame financial mismanagement and told NBC4 Tuesday they felt intentionally misled to believe the situation was less dire than it actually was.
“Everybody found out on Monday: teachers, alumni, current students, parents. Everybody found out the same day. And I think everyone should’ve been given way more notice,” said Lauren Mihaljevic, a 2014 Village Academy graduate.
The mid-July closure has left many of the school’s 200 students scrambling to transfer and teachers searching for new employment one month before the new term.
After the closure announcement, employees were also told their current contracts would be terminated immediately without final paychecks for summer 2019.
“We’re not getting paid for the entire month of July we worked, or obviously the rest of the time we were supposed to work. So I think we’re missing out on around 2 paychecks,” explained Emily Jordan, who was working at the school’s summer camp and planned to coach volleyball in the fall.
Several parents also told NBC4 they already paid partial or full tuition payments for the upcoming school year.
In a message to parents, faculty, staff and administration, the board of trustees said it had started the process of selling the campus and all physical assets so it could address creditors.
The Delaware County Auditor’s records indicate the property is worth more than $4.6 million.
The message also indicated student transcripts and permanent records will be in transit to Olentangy Local Schools and an official, embossed transcript will be mailed to the student’s home.
The school administration and board of trustees did not respond to requests for comment for this story.