COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. - Teachers not getting paid and students not getting their grades. WINK News presses the Collier County School District's Superintendent about the problems at Lorenzo Walker Technical Institute.
"The contract was moving along smoothly, teachers were showing up, kids were taught. There's no reason to suspect there's anything that's the matter when that happens," Superintendent Dr. Dennis Thompson explains.
Thompson says the district hired Southwest Florida Electrical Apprenticeship Association to run the program at Lorenzo.
But, before cutting a $168,000 check to the corporation in October, there were reports of problems.
"We got an inquiry from Mr. Brennan that he had not been paid on a timely schedule," Thompson recalls of one of the instructors.
The district asked the director of the corporation, Cindy Balterman, about it. Thompson says that's all they can do, and they got an answer they were satisfied with.
"It was a financial accounting thing and they corrected it in less than a week," the Superintendent says.
Thompson claims it wasn't until recently he found out teachers weren't paid for weeks. But don't count on the district to fork over any more money.
"The fact that their association didn't use the money to pay their employees like they should have, is something employees need to take up with that association."
As far as the district not checking to make sure the corporation had liability insurance, Thompson says that is their fault.
"Apparently got a little lax on it the last couple of years and didn't check on it," he admits.
However, Thompson days the district's own insurance would have covered students and teachers, but if the corporation had insurance it would have saved tax payers money.
Now, the district says they have a problem with one of the instructors, Martin McMurtrie.
According to Thompson, "he's withholding grades of his students until he gets paid."
WINK News spoke to McMurtrie. He says the purpose is to use the grades as leverage to get contractors to pay debts owned.
McMurtrie claims withholding grades doesn't allow the school to finalize their records for the apprenticeship, but students still get credit and graduation certificates regardless.