COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Brand new details to a story you first saw on WINK.
Teachers at Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology in Collier County say they haven't been paid in months. WINK News just got new documents from one of those teachers, showing the school district knew about problems for months.
The school district hires a corporation to supply teachers for the electrical apprenticeship at LWIT. When we brought it to the district's attention last week that teachers haven't been paid, the district issued a statement that they only recently found out the corporation wasn't holding up it's end of the contract.
"Hide behind some sort of well 'we recently found out about this', that's a country crock," Larry Brennan exclaims.
Brennan's filled his last 24 years as an instructor for the apprenticeship program. But, Brennan says things started to go sour at the end of last school year.
"Slow pay, no pay," he recalls of his payment for teaching. Brennan tells WINK News the school district knew instructors were having issues with their paychecks then.
But, it was the beginning of this school year, just days after the school district renewed their contract with the corporation that supplies the teachers, Southwest Florida Electrical Apprenticeship Association, he made it known the money issues hadn't gone away.
"October 5, 2009. I gave them full notice, Ms. Johnson, Dr. Thompson, Allum Hamblett, anyone that would listen," Brennan explains. That's when he sent an email to the school's director, the district's human resources manager and the superintendent.
Brennan wrote "Last year there appeared to be some 'cash flow' irregularities. This year they seem to be more impacting on the students and the instructors' abilities."
Brennan also states in the email that student's didn't get text books, and tells me they didn't receive them until the 13th week of class. Teachers say it is due to invoices not being paid by the corporation the previous school year.
"There was a call for pro-action here, it fell on deaf ears for whatever reason."
Brennan says he left the program after almost 25 years to make a statement over things not being handled correctly. However, he tells me for the last seven months he has been deeply concerned over the students and applauds the teachers that are currently working for free.
According to the school district's records, just days after Brennan's email of concern is dated, they paid the corporation $168,000 for the year.
The district refuses to answer any questions until they are through with their own investigation.