Mississippi private school lays off teachers as owners face charges

Published 3:34 pm Thursday, June 17, 2021

A private school in the Mississippi Delta has laid off all of its teachers and is searching for a buyer as its current owners are facing federal fraud charges.

Administrators of North New Summit School sent an email to parents Wednesday to tell them about the layoffs, the Greenwood Commonwealth reported.

“While we are still pursuing all possibilities for a sale or transition of the school to new ownership, these discussions are ongoing,” the school officials wrote. “We simply cannot assure you at this time that NNSS will be open in the fall.”

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New Summit School also has a campus in Jackson. The schools have been facing financial uncertainty after Nancy New and her son, Zachary New, were indicted on federal fraud charges in March. The indictment accused their company, New Learning Resources Inc., of fraudulently obtaining more than $2 million from the state from 2017 to 2020. Court records list Nancy New as president and Zachary New as vice president of New Learning Resources during the time covered by the indictment.

They have both pleaded not guilty, and their trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 7 in Jackson.

The indictments were issued more than a year after state Auditor Shad White implicated the News in a widespread conspiracy related to misspending of money in the Mississippi Department of Human Services.

With the uncertain status of North New Summit School, questions remain for students. Parents say there isn’t a viable alternative to its small class sizes and special-education curriculum within at least an hour’s drive of Greenwood.