The founder of Macons Progressive Christian Academy has given up her license to run a preschool, which could clear the way for the new management to bring back classes that had served dozens of students.
Separately, the one-time manager of the school, Christina Perera, has lost her bid to stay off probation.
The Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning removed founder Betty Tolberts license information from its website this week. Agency spokesman Reg Griffin said Tolbert surrendered her license through a letter dated Dec. 19.
The preschool was shut down Nov. 9 after state investigators found it was operating without a proper license and discovered that the school was being run by Perera, a convicted felon on active Florida probation. Other grades are still being taught at the school, which is now known as Hope Academy. Thats similar to a corporation Perera launched called H.O.P.E. of Macon Management Corp. from the schools address.
With Tolberts license surrendered, the new managers could apply for a new license. They havent done so yet, Griffin said. The new owner, E.T. Strickland, has indicated that he wanted to be able to apply for a license.
Strickland is among several people that Tolbert is suing for control of the school. Bibb County Superior Court Judge Edgar Ennis indicated that Strickland will have to prove he bought the school entity as well as the school property in a foreclosure auction. Ennis had also ordered Tolbert to surrender the license.
Perera, 48, was under active probation while managing the school. A Florida judge dropped her from probation briefly, then reinstated probation. Perera appealed once, then again to the Florida Supreme Court.
That court ruled Jan. 2 that it didnt have jurisdiction in the case and dismissed it. Perera also has been dropped from Tolberts lawsuit because shed filed for bankruptcy, but her bankruptcy case has since been dismissed because she didnt show up for court.
Perera remains listed as a fugitive in Florida Department of Corrections records after she allegedly failed to meet with her probation officers. Those probation officers reported that shed misled them about what work she was doing in Georgia and who she was working for.
Felons are not allowed to work with Georgia preschool children.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.