Saturday, May 18, 2024

Exclusive: Will Smith’s Private School, Now Closed, Was $307K in the Red


Exclusive: According to its federal non profit tax filing for 2012, Will Smith’s private school had to close down last June. New Village Academy, which taught Scientology curriculum and was run by a Scientologist, finished 2012 some $307,000 in the red.

New Village Leadership Academy was started by “After Earth” star Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith in 2008 in Calabasas, California. The school met with immediate criticism as it featured Scientology curriculum. Within a year the headmaster was fired when she wouldn’t go along with the Smiths’ plans. A new headmistress, Franca Campopiano, a Scientologist replaced her.

The school closed abruptly last July. This column spoke to one of the parents, producer Jeff Wald, a few months ago. More recently, the original headmaster gave an interview to Tony Ortega confirming the Scientology connection. One parent, entertainment lawyer Ken Hertz, who was on the board with his wife, refused to return calls.

According to the new filing, Campopiano was making $225,872 a year. Other salaries at the small private school came to $1,276.161.

The school seems like it was top heavy in debt. Total expenses in 2012 were $2, 951,570 under $3 million. Revenue was $2, 929,355– and that included $740,00 from tuition. The gap was just too wide for the Smiths–who’d already donated around $1.5 million– to make up.

Not only that: the school listed under Liabilities loans to staff, directors, trustees former and current of $1.235 million.

The school claimed net assets of (-) $307,146.

Clearly they were not teaching higher math at New Village.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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