BeauVer Christian Academy in DeRidder came under fire Wednesday after media reports outlined the school’s previous financial difficulties and the former director’s criminal records surfaced. (Karen Wink / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, June 15, 2012 11:19 AM
BeauVer Christian Academy in DeRidder came under fire Wednesday after media reports outlined the school’s previous financial difficulties and the former director’s criminal records surfaced.
BeauVer is one of four schools in Southwest Louisiana to be accepted into the Louisiana Scholarship Program. It was approved by the state Department of Education to receive up to 119 voucher students.
The school was formerly called the Beauregard Christian Academy, and The Town Talk in Alexandria reported that the school under that name had seven liens and financial judgments filed against it between 2007 and 2009.
The paper also reported that Maysia D. Coker, described as a “registered agent and officer for BeauVer Christian Academy,” is on probation for writing bad checks and is not allowed to sign checks on personal or business accounts.
Sheral Zeno, director of BeauVer Christian Academy for the 2012-2013 school year, said this is not the case. “Ms. Coker is no longer affiliated with the school,” Zeno said. “She retired at the end of last school year.”
Coker is listed as the principal of the school for the 2011-2012 school year on the Education Department’s website. Zeno said she retired in May and that her name will not be on paperwork for the upcoming school year.
The Town Talk article said Coker was sentenced in state district court in Beauregard Parish for issuing worthless checks in December 2009. The paper said Coker was given a three-year suspended prison term.
It also said Coker was placed on four years’ supervised probation and was ordered to pay a $2,000 fine, plus court costs; have no checking account in her name; refrain from signing for any business or personal checking accounts; and hold no position of financial authority.
“I’m just shocked that someone would dig up this information to make it appear to be all about money,” Zeno said. “That is the last thing Coker cared about. She has helped hundreds of kids.”
Zeno said she is unsure of the status of the cases against Beauregard Christian Academy.
“The only reason the school had financial difficulties was because Ms. Coker didn’t turn the children away regardless of their ability to pay,” Zeno said.
“The type of students we served are the type of students that public schools gave up on. Ms. Coker cared about these students, and those students have come back and said how much they owe their second chance to her.”
BeauVer enrolled about 90 students for the 2011-2012 school year. The school’s tuition is $350 a month. If the school receives the 119 students through the voucher program, it will receive nearly $400,000 from the state.