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'Caught off-guard' | Charlotte private school abruptly closes, parents scramble to find new schools

The principal at Legacy Preparatory School sent an email to parents that said the school would close immediately. Students were due back on Tuesday.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Parents are in limbo as they scramble to find schools for their children to attend after Legacy Preparatory School notified parents that their school will cease operations immediately, days before they were due back in class. 

"Yes, 100% caught off-guard," said Jackie Davis, whose son attends Legacy Prep. 

On Friday, she and other parents whose children were enjoying holiday break, received an email from Stacey Rose, the school's principal, that told them the school would not re-open on January 7th due to funding issues. 

"It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that Legacy Preparatory will have to close its doors and cease all operations immediately.  As such, we will not reopen for classes on January 7th (or any time thereafter) as originally planned," Rose wrote in-part.

"It's a burden," Davis said. "I'm thinking I'm in a nightmare, in a dream, and I haven't woke up from it."

She now has just days to go through the headache of finding her son a new school to attend so he can stay on track. 

"It's a shock," she said. "First thing that crossed my mind was what about I going to do with my son."

The letter that was sent to parents noted that the school could not stay open due to a lack of funding. 

"Our main school investor did not deliver on his promise to provide the additional finances needed to accompany the scholarship funds that are required to run the school through June," Rose wrote in-part. 

Davis said the private school charges $4,200 per student for the year, the cheapest she could find in the Charlotte-area when she looked for schools to send her son. 

She said she doesn't want to send her son to CMS because she wants to ensure her son gets the one-on-one attention he needs to succeed. 

"We're all up in the air," she said. 

Principal Rose noted the efforts made to gather the adequate funding to keep the school open, but they weren't successful. 

"Please understand that we have done everything in our power to close this funding gap and keep the school open, including seeking new investors and other financing sources, exploring creative financing alternatives, using my own personal funds and cutting the budget in every possible way," she wrote. "With no clear path forward, I am forced to make this sad decision."

She also added, "Please know that this is the hardest email that I have ever had to write, and I will do everything in my power to assist you in any way that I can."

"Here it is, really three days before school was supposed to start back, and you're just getting notice," Davis said, wondering why she didn't get any notice before. 

Legacy Prep said it will be open next week for parents to get transcripts and will try to help them find other options. 

"As one potential option, I have already been in contact with the superintendent of the North Carolina Cyber Academy, which is a North Carolina On-line Charter School. They are still enrolling students for this school year, and he is offering to help with the transition if this option is one you would like to explore," Rose wrote in her email. 

However, Jackie is worried how much the scramble will cost her. 

"To look for him a school next week, I'm going to have to take off because I have to do it during the day," she said.

NBC Charlotte spoke with a representative with Legacy Prep. They confirmed that they did send the email to parents, and that they would not offer any further comment. 

Here is their full e-mail to parents:

I hope you all had a happy holiday season. It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that Legacy Preparatory will have to close its doors and cease all operations immediately.  As such, we will not reopen for classes on January 7th (or any time thereafter) as originally planned.  Our main school investor did not deliver on his promise to provide the additional finances needed to accompany the scholarship funds that are required to run the school through June. Please understand that we have done everything in our power to close this funding gap and keep the school open, including seeking new investors and other financing sources, exploring creative financing alternatives, using my own personal funds and cutting the budget in every possible way. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, we were unsuccessful in raising the additional necessary funds.   With no clear path forward, I am forced to make this sad decision.


I want nothing but the best for my students, families and staff and those of you that have been on this journey with us for the past 6 years know how hard this decision is for us. I know that the transfer process for our students will be tough, and we will help you as much as we can to make it as smooth as possible. As one potential option, I have already been in contact with the superintendent of the North Carolina Cyber Academy, which is a North Carolina On-line Charter School. They are still enrolling students for this school year, and he is offering to help with the transition if this option is one you would like to explore. Additional information can be found at their website at https://www.myncca.com/


We will be at the school all next week to assist with any needed report cards, transcripts, and records and to answer any questions you may have.
Please know that this is the hardest email that I have ever had to write, and I will do everything in my power to assist you in any way that I can.

Sincerely,
Mrs. Rose

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story referred to Legacy Preparatory School as a charter school. The school is a private school and not a charter school.