Christian school fails teachers and students - KMSP-TV

Christian school fails teachers and students

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A private school in Snellville keeps getting a failing grade in one important subject: paying its teachers.

But how is that possible when Integrity Christian Academy collected a big chunk of tax money? The bigger question: where did it go?

In 2007, the Georgia General Assembly allowed parents with special education children to use tax dollars to pay for private school tuition.

The private school doesn't even have to offer special education services to get those tax dollars.

But they do have do one thing: stay open.

Integrity Christian moved multiple times in recent years, the latest move during Spring Break. That's when their landlord dumped all the school's belongings in the parking lot.

Three months later, angry parents and teachers gathered there to demand the school's founder, Djuana Ferguson, pay them what was owed and release student transcripts.

"The school is named Integrity Christian Academy but that wasn't always being displayed," said former teacher Kenneth Campbell

Opened in 2006, the private school touted a student teacher ratio of 10 to 1... with a Christian education that is "a cut above the rest."

But after the school moved one more time parents received an email from the owners of the new Loganville location: principal Ferguson was now banned from the property due to "selfish motives."

The dispute centers around a failed deal to sell Integrity Christian.

By phone Ferguson told me she blames her school's money problems on parents who didn't pay their tuition on time. She wouldn't talk about the allegations of "selfish motives."

Yet just two years ago, teachers reached an out-of-court settlement with Ferguson for back pay during THAT school year.

"So you don't buy her explanation." Fox 5 I-Team reporter Randy Travis asked parent Michelle Warner. "I really don't," she said.

The school had a steady source of money: your money. The state approved Integrity Christian Prep Academy for tax-funded special education scholarships... paying private school tuition if the child qualified for special ed services at a public school. During the last school year, the state gave Integrity Christian 120-thousand dollars.

"She created this problem. I didn't," says parent Lillian Cansella.

Noah Kebede's family was one of the few who paid full tuition. Noah wasn't a special ed student. He was the class valedictorian. But principal Ferguson refused to release his transcript... holding up his college plans... until she got his final tuition payment.

His mother worried the money was going to be misspent.

"It seems like all those years of high school, all this hard work is just being thrown away because I can't get accepted because of this small thing," said Noah.

After our interviews, Ferguson released transcripts to those families who gathered outside.

And before we left... people angry with each other... and with a troubled school founder... remembered those words above... one last time and offered this prayer:

"Lord, we just ask for forgiveness for Ms. Ferguson and the errors of her ways. We believe and trust that you will bring her back to herself."

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