ATLANTA — A boarding school in Sandy Springs is shutting down, leaving teachers unpaid and parents waiting for tuition refunds.
Brandon Hall School is a private boarding school for grades 6 through 12 and it has been in operation since 1959.
Teachers at the school said school administration told them Monday that their last paycheck will be the one they received on May 12. That means two and a half months of work will go unpaid.
Parents chimed in as well sharing letters that informed them that the tuition they paid in advance for next school year is in limbo.
They say tuition for students who board at the school is approximately $55,000. Tuition for day students is approximately $27,000. Some parents paid portions of that in advance of the next school year.
“I think it’s despicable,” said one anonymous teacher. “The fact that there are people that they didn’t tell this was happening, and those people didn’t look for jobs.”
One teacher who spoke with Channel 2 asked for their identity to be hidden after the head of the school sent an e-mail that read, “I’m sure it goes without saying that nobody is to respond or speak to any media organization. Do not put yourself in the position of being a spokesperson for the school – it would not go well for you.”
The teacher explained the school sent a letter out to families on May 1 saying that COVID-19 affected enrollment and finances are strained. The letter said the board was looking for a business partner to help, “On many fronts, we are optimistic that a strategic arrangement will be completed in the near future, allowing our current students and future Brandon Hall enrollees to be a part of our community next year and beyond.”
Then, Monday, the administration told teachers the school can no longer afford to operate or pay them.
The anonymous teacher said last semester, the school employed 22 teachers and eight staff with 92 students in attendance. Some teachers who live on campus are out of a job and a home, and they say health insurance expires next week.
“You had teachers that had not taken off time during the year and scheduled surgeries during the summer that are now not going to be able to have those surgeries,” said the teacher.
A second e-mail told all parents, “I trust that should you be approached by anyone, your only response would be “no comment” and perhaps an expression of sadness and gratitude for the work BHS did for your students.”
When asked for answers, Zoe Hauser, who is the head of the school, has responded with no comment.
Local board member, Jorge LLuch Del Hoyo, told Channel 2 Action News the school’s attorney would have to respond.