Technical school's board discusses debt, complaints

First Coast Technical College's president, 2 administrators on suspension

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – After the board of First Coast Technical College meet Tuesday to discuss ongoing issues with the school's finances and numerous complains fined against the school's staff and board members, members were concerned.

"This whole school is looking pretty bad right now," board member Bill Garrison said.

Two weeks ago, the board suspended its president, Sandra Fortner, along with two other administrators amid allegations of $600,000 in unpaid bills, testing irregularities and issues with teacher qualifications.

While the board discussed an ongoing audit of the charter school's finances, they pushed the item to the next meeting and moved on to personnel issues.

The board decided an attorney will deal complaints about the current human resources manager, Stephanie Thomas.

When the board discussed launching new programs and their cost, one member asked why they keep spending money even though the St. Johns County School Board said the school is way behind on reimbursements for teacher salaries and other fees.

"You can't have a staff this unhappy," board chairwoman Carol Alford said after the meeting. "I just want to make sure the school board can clear the way to make sure we find out if (the allegations are) true or not true."

The three employees placed on administrative leave could potentially come back to work, depending on the outcome of the audit and investigation.

The I-TEAM has been looking into problems at FCTC for weeks and earlier this month St. Johns County School Board ordered an audit of the charter school's finances.


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