ORANGE PARK, Fla. - Story published 7/19/19:
Action News Jax is getting answers for Orange Park families about why their school still hasn’t notified them that it’s moving.
Action News Jax first reported on Thursday that people were moving boxes of school supplies and other items into storage pods and moving trucks on the campus of the Orange Park Performing Arts Academy.
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After Action News Jax left the private school’s founder, Dr. Alesia Burse, three voicemails over two days, she texted us on Friday.
“We are relocating the school to a more affordable facility,” said Burse.
Action News Jax reported March 1 that the school told parents to pick up their children early because it was being evicted.
“A sheriff came in and served me with an eviction notice to give to Alesia Burse,” said former school employee LaShawn Stubbs.
Days later, the children were allowed to return.
Court records show the school was forced out for not paying rent, and the owner took possession of the building on June 10.
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Action News Jax asked Burse why she didn’t notify parents of the move.
“We thought that we could work out a payment plan with the owner and the buyer who said they were our partners,” Burse wrote in a text message. “Nothing was completely confirmed until last week about move. We will notify parents when we sign contract for new location. That way they will be able to make the best decision based on our location whether or not they want to stay at the school.”
Burse said she is negotiating with two different potential locations right now.
She said the school will reopen in time for the coming school year but did not answer Action News Jax’s question about whether it would reopen under the same name.
“It seems that they are hiding from everybody, so nobody notices that’s going on,” said Carol Romero, whose daughter attended the school.
Romero said she was unable to get her daughter’s school records until after Action News Jax’s story aired Thursday.
Orange Park Performing Arts Academy’s rent was not its only unpaid bill.
A letter from the town of Orange Park shows the school’s water was shut off five times in less than two years because of unpaid bills.
The school is also being sued by fired employee Stubbs, who said she was not paid for several weeks of work.
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