42ºF

Long-troubled Orange Park Performing Arts Academy closed for good

School evicted last month over $156,000 in unpaid rent

ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Orange Park Performing Arts Academy is not just out for the summer. The school has been evicted.

The private school forfeited the building after the property owner sued the school's owner for $156,000 in unpaid rent. This week, furniture, equipment and supplies have been dumped outside the front entrance.

There's a big storage pod that's been on the property for days.

Parents said they can't get answers -- or their children's records and report cards. 

Lashawn Stubbs, the former executive assistant to the principal, said working there for nine months was "not a good experience."

"Employees, teachers were not getting paid on time. There are teachers that still have not been paid. Bills were not paid. It's just something I've never experienced before."

Stubbs is suing the school's founder and owner, Alesia Ford-Burse, and her husband for $4,600 in back pay. 

Stubbs said the school also left parents high and dry.

"They don't know what to do," Stubbs said. "They have not received their report cards for the third or the fourth nine weeks. You know, they're just at a loss, and it's really sad."

The school has a history of problems. It was originally a charter school. The state ordered it closed two years ago due to failing grades. It reopened months later, rebranding itself as a private school.

This spring, students missed days of class when the school was forced out for not paying rent.

While it reopened then, the school appears to be closed for good. The school's main phone line is disconnected, and residents of the area saw things being cleared out of the building earlier this week.


About the Author: