(June 13, 2019 / JNS) A Hebrew charter school in Hollywood, Fla., has offered to take in American Hebrew Academy (AHA) students after their school in Greensboro, N.C., closed this week due to financial struggles.
Ben Gamla Preparatory Academy, the only Hebrew English charter high school in the United States, told Fox affiliate WGHP that a letter will be sent to AHA parents and students, stating that students are welcome.
“As a Florida charter school, we charge no tuition, and all students that reside in Florida are eligible to attend Ben Gamla Preparatory Academy for free,” wrote Ben Gamala principal Gayle Iacono. “There is no prior Florida residency requirement to attend Ben Gamla Preparatory Academy.”
“We would welcome any and all students that attended the American Hebrew Academy to attend Ben Gamla Preparatory Academy in Hollywood, Florida, for the coming school year that starts Aug. 14, 2019.”
Although Ben Gamla doesn’t offer housing, students who don’t have a residence in South Florida have been able to reside with other parents or work with firms to find area host families.
AHA closed after nearly two decades following financial troubles despite receiving millions in donations over the years, including $3 million total in 2015 and a $100 million donation from commercial aviation reinsurance mogul Chico Sabbah in 2006.
“Everybody was speechless and in utter shock,” Yosef Plotkin, who was the campus rabbi and taught Jewish studies at AHA, told WGHP.
“Throughout the years, we knew the academy was struggling financially. I don’t think anybody knew the extent it was,” he added.
About 150 students attended the school for the 2018-19 academic year.