Langston Hughes Academy Staff Still Waiting For Paychecks After Tulsa School's Closure

Monday, August 19th 2019, 5:55 pm
By: Amy Avery

Staff from Langston Hughes Academy say they're still waiting on their final paychecks after the school was shut down on June 30th.

The state board of education voted to pull the school's accreditation which left teachers and staff filing for unemployment.

“It wasn’t a job, they were raising like their own children and preparing them for life and society,” said former Langston Hughes Academy parent Raymond Cavely.

Cavely's daughter, Alexis, just graduated from Langston Hughes Academy.

He says Alexis went to public school first, but he saw a big change in her as soon as she switched to Langston.

"She was at McLain for several years and leaned more in one year here, raised her school levels in reading, math, science,” said Cavely.

The Oklahoma State Board of Education pulled Langston Hughes Academy's accreditation after the school was accused of grade tampering, faculty misconduct, and money mismanagement.

Related Story: Langston Hughes Charter School To Lose Accreditation 

Former staff say they received monthly paychecks but the amounts were never correct, and many of them are still owed hundreds of dollars.

"We are teachers," said Former LHA Special Education Coordinator Tammy Ethelberth. "It’s kind of like being blackmailed into - 'you need to continue to work with the kids and we'll even up everything by June 30th' and that just never happened."

Former Special Education Coordinator Tammy Ethelberth says she and fellow staff have already filed for unemployment, but they can't receive benefits because the school didn't report fourth-quarter earnings.

Ethelberth says many have been struggling to make ends meet.

"Employees have had their lights turned off, cars repossessed, no gas, no water,” said Ethelberth. "Most of us live check to check, so when there’s a missed step in that checking system it causes a lot of stress on everyone."

Ethelberth says they've been in contact with the Langston Hughes Academy School Board, but still haven't received their money.

She says the school had money to pay staff on June 30th but decided to pay other bills.

"It’s not our fault. We did everything we were supposed to do; we just want to get paid,” said Ethelberth.

And many parents, like Cavely, are hoping the board will make things right.

"If they're closing and not going to reopen, they need to sell the equipment, sell the buses, and they need to pay their staff,” said Cavely.

Related Story: Tulsa Parents Asking State To Save Langston Hughes Academy 

News On 6 reached out to Langston University and the Langston Hughes Academy School Board Chair for a comment and has not heard back.


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