Pittsylvania Co., VA - We've been following the unexpected closing of the South Central Area Health Education Center in Hurt, which left many enrolled students out of thousands of dollars. Now, teachers are speaking out with their experiences at the center.
Tracy Hall was a teacher at the center from January until it closed last month, but she says signs of the school's financial trouble were evident for a while. Hall began teaching at the center early this year, but soon she realized things weren't quite what they seemed.
In June, she went to cash her paycheck and it was no good.
"I called my supervisor and I said 'Mary, my paycheck bounced. Go check yours,' and she's like 'Oh no. I hoped that wouldn't happen to you.' So this is something that had happened before," said Hall.
In August, Hall was told that the school would probably not be able to operate, but says she was instructed to tell students that the start of classes would simply be postponed.
"They just told us that unless some type of miracle occurred, there wouldn't be school," Hall said.
The chairman of the school's board of directors tells us they had no idea the school was in financial trouble until a board meeting on August 30th.
They gave the executive director two weeks to find emergency funding. When she found none, the board voted to dissolve the school on September 19th but during this time, Hall says the center continued to accept tuition payments.
"In that last week, when that last person paid tuition, I feel like they knew that there was no possibility that we could have a school," said Hall.
Now she finds herself in the same boat as many of those students.
"To think that my name is part of that school, it's kind of embarrassing and I hope that people will be able to get their money back in some form," said Hall.
She was able to find a new job, but says the school still owes her about one thousand dollars.
The Chairman of the school's board says they are very upset and concerned about the students' loss of money.
The Board and the statewide AHEC office, which was also unaware of financial trouble, are investigating the situation.