NORTH MIAMI, Fla. – Local 10 News was the first to report the story of a private school whose teachers said they hadn't been paid in weeks. Friday, those teachers finally received some of their pay, but not all.
Beverly Hilton, a North Miami City Council candidate is also the Challenger School owner, where four teachers haven't been paid in weeks.
"She says she owes us two weeks and all this commotion is for two weeks, but its not," said Challenger teacher Willie Pearl Gittings.
Hilton still claims she's the one waiting for April's allocation from state funding.
"We were waiting on this money to pay the teachers," Hilton said.
And she maintains that position, though records at the Early Learning Coalition, the agency that disperses state funding monthly to providers of free pre-kindergarten, show it's paid up.
"As a matter of fact, they still owe us $181," Hilton said.
Taxpayer money funds the students that go to the school, and the owner is a candidate for elected office -- two reasons why the small school is under considerable scrutiny.
When asked if there's any chance she used the money from the school to go to her campaign, Hilton said, "Not at all, not at all. That's my salary that I used, that I loaned to the campaign -- my income."
Hilton's campaign finance reports show she loaned her campaign $2,000 in February, then $1,200 in March. They also show her campaign manager is paid in full -- $2,000 -- on the 20th of each month. Her campaign signs are on school property, her school board member is campaign treasurer; both are legal to do.
"I'm trying to believe people at the word, that what they say is the truth, that's why we're staying," Gittings said.
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