Raleigh's Upper Room school downsizing to K-5

Posted October 9, 2012 9:44 p.m. EDT
Updated October 9, 2012 11:23 p.m. EDT

— The Upper Room Christian Academy in Raleigh is downsizing due to financial hardship, leaving middle and high school students less than a month to enroll elsewhere.

Starting Nov. 1, the school, which currently has nearly 250 students in preschool through 12th grade, will only offer classes for students in kindergarten through fifth grades.

About a dozen teachers might lose their jobs and more than three dozen students will have to transfer, according to school leaders.

Upper Room's executive director, John Amanchukwu, said school leaders were faced with no other choice. With an operating budget of about $2.2 million, the school saw funding taper off in recent years, putting them between $500,000 and $700,000 in the red this year.

"We haven't been able to raise adequate funding," Amanchukwu said. "We all know in order for me to order a burger from McDonald's, I must have money."

Falicia Gibson said she loved the education Upper Room provided for her daughter, but now she is forced to consider other school options.

"When your child has been in a school since she was 3 years old, and then all of a sudden, they have to make a transition, that's difficult," Gibson said.

Student Jasmine Lester will have to finish her sophomore year and beyond at another school.

"I'm a little upset I'm not going to be here anymore," Lester said. "Upper Room has been a huge part of my life."