Despite news of its closure earlier this year, Green Fields college preparatory school is expected to reopen Monday, Oct. 21 under new ownership.
Accelerated Learning Laboratory charter school purchased Green Fields for $2.3 million on Wednesday, Oct. 2, and plans to reopen the school as a charter. According to Accelerated, messages are already coming in from former employees and families about returning to the school once it opens.
Back in July, Green Fields School announced it would not open for the 2019-2020 school year and declared bankruptcy after years of enrollment declines. In their purchase bid, Accelerated offered $2.5 million, to align with Green Fields’ $2.2 million debt. From their bid, the company intends on paying, in full, all legitimate claims of the school’s debt.
While $2.3 million was accepted to purchase Green Fields’ campus, trademarks, name, logos and website, an additional $250,000 to purchase Green Fields’ records with personal information about students and employees is currently being withheld.
“We’re supposed to go back to court for that, but it looks like we’re going to get it,” said Accelerated media coordinator Adrianna George. “Because we don’t have the personal information, we’re not able to reach out to previous students and teachers ourselves. So the teachers we have hired back are kind of spreading the word to other teachers.”
The company has already hired back multiple Green Fields employees, and is interviewing more. They’ve also signed up multiple former Green Fields students to return to the school.
“We haven’t been able to reach out to previous Green Fields students directly, so it’s based on word-of-mouth right now, because we haven’t been able to get the personal information,” George said.
The proposed opening date of Oct. 21 is a week after Accelerated’s second academic quarter starts. Despite this loss of a school week, Green Fields students can still receive full credit for the quarter by working at a slightly accelerated pace.
“It’s going to be a charter school, but still with a private portion, because they had an international exchange program,” George said. “That part will remain private because otherwise students will be unable to have a student visa for a year to come here. We’ll still have the international portion of it private, but the rest of the school will be a charter, and tuition-free.”
Accelerated plans to incorporate their “advanced curriculum” at Green Fields, which focuses on promoting a “knowledge centered, learner oriented environment.” In addition, a major focus of the organization is preparing students for college via counselors and AP courses.
One of the many concerns when Green Fields closed was paying back tuition. At the time of the school’s closure announcement, multiple parents had already paid the annual tuition for their children, which ranged from roughly $10,000 to $15,000.
“Once the court approves the full bid, arrangements will be made to pay back creditors, parents and staff that didn’t get paid over the summer,” George said. “That plan was included in our bid, which was one of the reasons I think the judge chose our bid, since it had a planned out portion of how to pay back everyone that was owed money,” she said. “But we’re not personally contacting the parents and paying them back, it’s all in the court bid.”
While there are still many uncertainties in reopening the school, Accelerated hopes to maintain Green Fields’ culture and traditions.
For more information, and to view an FAQ about the purchase, visit allaccelerated.org.