Alleged scam: Nancy New’s school claimed to treat hospitalized kids | #scams | #scammers

The New Summit School in Jackson, formerly run by Nancy New and her son Zach New. Both were arrested in 2020 on charges they allegedly stole $4 million in Mississippi welfare dollars and in 2021 on charges they defrauded the state’s education department. They have pleaded not guilty and await trial. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today
Nancy New, owner of New Learning Resources and New Summit School, exits the federal courthouse in Jackson on Mar. 18, 2021. New was released on bond after pleading not guilty to sixteen counts. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

Nancy New and her son Zach, owners of several for-profit and nonprofit organizations, were well on their way to building an education empire in Mississippi.

Their private schools, called New Summit, had been gaining acclaim, especially for catering to nontraditional students and those with disabilities — the only type students the state can pay private schools to educate.

“School choice” — the concept of allowing tax dollars to follow a student to a private school — was becoming a rallying cry in the Republican-dominated state Legislature.

Lawmakers were shorting public schools hundreds of millions of dollars annually according to state law, including for special education. And apparent holes in oversight at the Mississippi Department of Education were going ignored or unnoticed.

This was the landscape in 2016 when Nancy and Zach New allegedly began defrauding the state out of millions of public school dollars. 

To be sure, Nancy New’s schools have for years provided meaningful services to the small number of Mississippi families they serve. Her lobbying efforts and connections to powerful politicians such as former Gov. Phil Bryant and current Gov. Tate Reeves only served to further legitimize her companies, gaining them unfettered access to the public trough. 

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