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Halfmoon private school shuts down; employees can't file their taxes

February 28, 2018 06:47 PM

HALFMOON -- Saratoga Academy, once a shiny new school in Halfmoon, is now shut down with an eviction notice on the door.

"The whole school seemed to have started to go downhill," said former teacher Karen Wagoner.

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It started to go downhill when Wagoner said she joined the staff more than three years ago.

"The years following that it got worse again. He couldn't make payroll a few times," she said.

Another teacher who only wanted to be identified as “Ann” said she even took the headmaster to court after working without getting a paycheck when the school couldn't make payroll.

"I won the case. He did not show up to that case. I still haven't been paid for that," Ann said.

The complaints didn't stop there. Teachers and parents said there were maintenance issues. The school was neglected and electricity was shut off multiple times because the bill wasn't paid, according to the former teachers. They also had to worry about some health problems.

"There was scabies in the building and one of my students had it," Wagoner said.

"Just when you finally start to get over it and you move on and you get to your new position and you survive it because of the kids, then you go to file your taxes and it starts all over again." Ann added.

Former staff members can't file their taxes because the company that processed payroll won't release their W2's because of an $8,000 debt.

NewsChannel 13 spoke to Headmaster Michael Christensen on the phone. He said the school fell into financial problems after he started the middle school.

"We're constantly trying to manage debt with lowering enrollment," Christensen told NewsChannel 13. "It would have been nice to dig out, but as it turns out we weren't able to."

Christensen said the school board is mostly responsible for the W2 problem because they dropped the ball on paying the payroll company. Teachers and parents are wondering what happened to all the tuition money. NewsChannel 13 contacted State Police and other law enforcement. They said the school is not under investigation

Credits

Dan Bazile

Copyright 2018 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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