Carlsbad’s newest private school is taking applications and conducting admissions interviews for the upcoming school year, according to an announcement published by the school.
Carlsbad Prep Academy is a non-denominational faith-based school.
The school will not be accredited by the state of New Mexico, according to the school’s website.
“We believe in pulling the government away from controlling what we learn, how we learn, how our kids are taken care of, and everything else that goes with state accreditation,” the website stated.
State accreditation is optional for private schools in New Mexico, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
New Mexico does not have any curriculum requirements for private schools but has a list of approved accrediting agencies.
Executive Director of the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA) Clayton Petry said state accreditation ensures private schools are meeting high-quality standards.
Multiple private schools in New Mexico are accredited under the NCPSA including Canyon Christian Academy in Alamogordo and the Las Cruces Seventh-day Adventist Academy.
Petry said organizations like the NCPSA help private schools conduct regular evaluations, work with them to develop a curriculum and ensure they are following state and federal laws.
“Accreditation is just another layer of quality assurance for parents and the community when they look into options to send their kids to school,” Petry said.
Private school teachers in the state are also not required to have any form of certification and the schools are not required to conduct regular testing, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Tuition for Carlsbad Prep Academy will be $500 a month but has scholarships and financial aid are available according to the school’s website.
The school plans to teach pre-K through sixth grade and will lead school days with prayer, teach the 10 commandments, teach bible verses and teach Christian values, the website stated.
The school listed Deborah Beard as its administrator and principal. Beard declined the Carlsbad Current-Argus’ request for comment.
The school will have a Monday through Thursday schedule, according to the website.
Carlsbad Prep Academy located at the former St. Edward Catholic School, which was owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces. The school closed in 2019 due to a drop in enrollment.
Public records show the building was purchased by the Gods Light in Darkness Foundation, a non-profit founded in 2018. In 2019 the organization reported $36 million in revenue.
The organization was established by Linda Wilson, Clay Wilson and Tammy Hawley, according to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records. None of the three could be reached for comment.
Claudia Silva is a reporter from the UNM Local Reporting Fellowship. She can be reached at [email protected], by phone at 575-628-5506 or on Twitter @thewatchpup.