Wright could not be reached for comment, as calls to her cell phone went unanswered, and the phone’s voicemail was full and not accepting messages.
A written statement signed by both Wright and Parkway board member Sharron Henley said the school is “in the process of liquidating assets to remedy the debts owed to vendors.” The statement did not specifically mention teachers.
Parkway is not the only local charter school where teachers were denied pay. In 2010, teachers at Rise Academy in Florida City complained of not being paid for their final month, said Helen Blanch, assistant superintendent for school choice for Miami Dade Public Schools. The school district shut down Rise Academy for a variety of reasons that included unsanitary conditions and questionable spending by administrators.
Rise’s teachers never got those paychecks, according to Miami-Dade officials.
Parkway was founded in 2001 as a charter school with an automotive niche, with some students being trained for future careers as auto mechanics. Most of the school’s board members are in fact local car dealership owners, and Stupart said she reached out to the board president — Gary Feil of Ocean Cadillac — when it was announced teachers wouldn’t be paid.
Feil said “He had no idea what was going on,” Stupart said. “He said that he would do some investigation and get back to me.”
Soon after, Feil stopped returning teachers’ calls, Stupart said.
Feil did not return calls from the Miami Herald on Wednesday.
Richard Baker, president of the South Florida Automobile Dealers Association, served as a liaison to Parkway’s board of directors. On Wednesday, Baker praised the school for doing a solid job in serving low-performing students, and he called it unfair that Broward’s school district shut Parkway down.
Based on his conversations with Wright, Baker said he’d been under the impression that teachers weren’t owed money.
“If teachers didn’t get paid, I feel sad for them,” Baker said. But when asked if the auto dealers who served on Parkway’s board should take responsibility for making those teachers whole, Baker said no.
“It’s a volunteer position,” Baker said. “Nobody got paid on the board.”