PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A year and a half after their school ran out of money and shut down, teachers and staff in Portsmouth are still trying to recover back pay.
“I absolutely loved teaching at Alliance Christian Academy,” said Courtney Lambaiso during an interview earlier this year. But Lambaiso also expected to get paid for the work she loved.
She was one of more than two dozen teachers and staff who came up short, after Alliance Christian Academy ran out of money and shut down in the summer of 2017.
Lambaiso says she was owed about $3,500, typical of what we heard from other teachers. A staff member claims to have been shorted more than $10,000.
The school’s attorney, Glenn Reynolds, sent out a letter early this year confirming debts not only to former employees but also to the IRS.
In a statement Wednesday, Reynolds said Alliance Christian Church, which is now Crossroads Church, “was not a party to any contract with the teachers and the school and the church were and remain completely separate legal entities.”
However the church “voted to assist the school in paying the money even though it had no obligation to do so,” Reynolds said.
The church entered an agreement with a developer last December. It would sell six of its 10 acres along Portsmouth Boulevard.
The transaction was supposed to be finalized by early summer. The property includes underground water lines that carry drinking water into Norfolk. A city spokesperson told us late Tuesday the Norfolk utility easement “does not impact the sale, and the church can sell the property if they would like.”
Reynolds says that is only part of the story.
“The developer must receive final approval from the City of Portsmouth before moving forward to closing. Engineers are reviewing the final plans (Wednesday) and they will be submitted to the city after the review is completed. Then the city will have final approval.
“As has always been the plan, once the approval is obtained from the city and the closing has occurred, the Church will assist the School in paying the teachers and staff who are owed funds,” Reynolds said.