[UPDATE] Innovation School Makes Changes

By: Lanetra Bennett; Jill Chandler Email
By: Lanetra Bennett; Jill Chandler Email

[UPDATE] 9-15 5:50PM --

A Tallahassee Christian School has had it's financial ups and downs over the past few months, but the school has made tough choices to get back on track.

Innovation School of Excellence has seen a 65%decrease in enrollment since they made news headlines in July.

Teachers came forward saying they were not getting their paychecks. To make up for their financial woes,schools officials had to cut about ten jobs. They say the hard decisions are paying off.

"It's better because the students have more hands on with the teachers," said Jack Leland, the CEO of Innovation Schools.

The dip in enrollment means smaller class sizes. At first parents were worried about their kids education, but now they feel confident.

Ted Jerome is a parent of two students at the school. He said, " One of the first instincts you have is to make sure your children are getting the best education, and you want to make sure the children have a safe environment."

Innovation Schools has started a new program to help young black males in the community.

"Teach them the positive side of pulling their pants up, wearing a shirt and tie. It gives them a different outlook on life than what the TV shows now," said Nitika Fryson who is helping with the program.

Innovation is also different from most schools because of it's Christian based, year-round schooling.

Parents we talked to say it's good for the children to avoid the "summer time slip" in learning.


[UPDATE] 7-12 2:20pm -

Terrell Davis, Assistant Principal to School-Aged Students, says employees are getting paid today.

Stay with WCTV for details.


[UPDATE] 7-11-11

Administrators at Innovation School of Excellence in Tallahassee are speaking out tonight after recent backlash about employees not getting paid.

Teachers expressed their anger last Friday saying they hadn't received a paycheck for the past month.

Administrators say Innovation School of Excellence is going through a financial crunch.

They say everyone's in the same boat. It's not just the teachers -- no one's getting paid, but administrators say they hope to quickly resolve the issue.

"It is true that no employee at Innovation School of Excellence has been paid yet," says Terrell Davis, the assistant principal for school-aged students at Innovation School of Excellence in Tallahassee.

He says no one's been paid because the school is facing financial hardships.

Davis says, "In order to fix a problem, you must recognize there is a problem. Unfortunately, this blew up in our faces saying, 'hey, there's a problem' and now we're responding to it."

Paychecks for the previous month were supposed to go out July 5.

Davis says the school's financial struggles are the result of a strain that's built up over the past few months.

Many fingers are being pointed in this situation. Some of the teachers say they believe the blame for employees not getting paid at Innovation School of Excellence solely falls on the new leadership.

One teacher, who wishes to remain anonymous, says "Our previous director, Elder Young, I feel that if he was still here, he would've made a way, regardless. If he had to go without, he would've made a way for his employees to have what they needed."

Davis says, "It's not just the board making silly decisions; it's not the CEO making silly decisions and it's not just the head of finance making silly decisions, or the old executive director. It just wasn't caught in the past. It is my belief that this was going to come out if Elder Young was here or not."

Davis says, "Those who handle the finances, let them do their jobs. We continue to do our jobs, and everything will work out fine."

Davis says there is no way to pinpoint who or exactly what caused the problem. He say the focus now is solving it.

Davis says everyone is expected to get paid by the end of the week.


Payday has come and gone and teachers at one Tallahassee school say the money train missed their bank accounts.

Staff members say they're upset because they haven't been paid.

Teachers at Innovation School of Excellence in Tallahassee say now is not the time to be missing a paycheck.

They say it's three days past payday and they're still waiting on answers and their money.

Teachers at Innovation School of Excellence in Tallahassee say July 5 was payday, but they haven't gotten paid.

One teacher who's worked at Innovation for six years says, "It really upsets me. I'm not able to pay my landlord the rent, my light bill, get things that my two-year old daughter needs. It's just ridiculous."

The teachers did not want to be identified, but they wanted to speak out.

They say none of the employees have gotten a paycheck for last month.

Staff members say they were told that the school does not have the funds.

A 13-year veteran teacher at Innovation says, "I was down because I know I got bills and my bills are due. I need to get food in my house. I just don't have the funds now."

One teacher says, "I started working here in 2006 school year and that was right after the church burned down. Even then, we still never missed a paycheck. It was always provided for us."

Another teacher who has worked there for two years says, "Elder Young would've made a sacrifice for us to get paid. I know he would have. But, the head CEO is Jack P. Leland."

One of the teachers says, "They expect me to come to work every day for free. I just can't do it."

Many of the teachers say they're willing to continue working for the kids' sake, but they say they hope to get their money by next week.

Eyewitness News tried to reach out to administrators, but were unable to get a comment.

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  • by Brutal Location: Capital City, Florida on Sep 16, 2011 at 03:43 AM
    This is just wrong. Sick.
  • by Dee Location: Tallahassee on Sep 15, 2011 at 04:23 PM
    If they're catering to "young men" who have to be taught to pull their pants up, no wonder they have problems! Schools can't undo lousy parenting, simple as that.
  • by Sadden on Jul 16, 2011 at 04:16 AM
    Still not indicating the Judge's decision. Soooo many comments Before court but silence now.
    • reply
      by so so true on Jul 18, 2011 at 08:19 PM in reply to Sadden
      That is so true. I can not believe that people get on here with their personal business and write such. Then after it is decided by the judge, you hear no more. Nothing should have been put on here to begin with because the truth was not shared to begin with. People were trying to destroy a beautiful christian school and church that was in the process of being cleaned up. God will still prevail!!!!!
  • by Owning our own faults on Jul 14, 2011 at 03:48 AM
    Kasey Anthony did not have a hs diploma, she did not work, she partied. We, society, told her and many others like her that is ok. If you do not want to work and you just want to party don't worry we will financially take care of you on one conditions that you have a child and raise the child in your dysfunctional environment. We, not the jury, enable this in fact we pay for it. It was our money she was parting on while her child was left god knows where. That all fault we told her to have the child in fact we paid her to do it. You all don't see our fault in any of this. You want to point the finger at the other guy. I have news for you we are all guilty. Medicaid, SSI, Food stamps, Grants, Government assistance has made child bearing a business for the dysfunctional people in our society and this is the results and continue to sponsor it. You want to fix the problem, stop paying dysfunctional people to have children.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 13, 2011 at 02:43 PM
    Otis on the stand fumbling over his words!
    • reply
      by Annonymous on Jul 14, 2011 at 08:11 AM in reply to
      No fumbling,just facts. This is probably one of the uneducated board of trustees/ and or newly appointed school board members. You,including the CEO, has made a fool out of your church, your community, and all the folks that have left and has had any ties ever with Innovation Baptist Church. Your CEO, Jack P. Leland, Sr. should have more respect for himself as a leader of the community. Your wrong ways are going to bring all your followers to destruction. This is a real serious matter and you all have no respect for anyone. At least if you was going to "take over" because you said the school was not being ran properly, you should have at least hired someone with a sense of running a school and not putting parents, especially their kids, in this position. Education is very important and it should be first priority on the CEO's agenda, and then you should have made sure money was in place to keep things flowing. But instead, your stupidity allowed you to purchase a van and pay $20,000.00 plus to benefit the chosen ones and not the entire school or church. Why you hiding the van? Probably cause you shame! Uneducated folk with no common sense.....AND Jack P. Leland, Sr. is the CEO and it was stated yesterday that he has not attended a board meeting...EVER..since his appointed in 1998
      • reply
        by Sad on Jul 14, 2011 at 11:56 AM in reply to Annonymous
        I like alot of readers of these posts am saddened by the level some of the comments have taken. It is shocking to know that people obviously close to ISE and IBC would air their dirty laundry out for all to see. I do not currently have a church home; however, after reading these posts I can rule out IBC. So Sad!
        • reply
          by looking for a church home on Jul 14, 2011 at 08:54 PM in reply to Sad
          Please do not allow this to determine which church you will make asyour home church. I have searched and aearched and moved from many churches for60 years and I have yet to find a perfect church. There are pastors that are destroying churches and others that are simply taking every dime they can from the church. You seek God's sirection for a church home. He will place you where you can be blessed as you serve him. i do not know all that has gone on at this church, but my prayer is that they will remember that God knows all and sees all. What is done in the dark eventually comes to the light. Be Blessed.......NC
      • reply
        by who is this on Jul 15, 2011 at 02:30 PM in reply to Annonymous
        this sounds like Otis Young speaking. The judge made his decision based on what he and that woman said and other proof. So Otis needs to move on and try to clean up. I know his wife and family is ashamed.
        • reply
          by Sadden on Jul 15, 2011 at 05:16 PM in reply to who is this
          What was the decision. Judge decided what?
        • reply
          by MY MY on Jul 15, 2011 at 06:59 PM in reply to who is this
  • by Tally Location: Tally on Jul 13, 2011 at 09:33 AM
    Why is everyone think everyone is getting assistance. My child went to ISE I paid them out of pocket for two yrs. It is expensive but if you want the best you pay for it. I worked hard to make sure my child had the best academic education from a great school. I hate to see that it has gone down hill and the best thing that run the school is Young. I hope he wins and sues them for every penny they have start his own school. That is the main reason most ppl took their kids out because he is not there and the wrong things they did to him and other good staff. Why is ISE taking money from early learning coalition if the child is no longer attending stealing is wrong they have gotten cited for this before and their will lose thier license behind it. ISE is greedy and dead wrong! What's in the dark will come to the light!!!
    • reply
      by What is the early learning coalition and what child were they involved with? on Jul 13, 2011 at 04:37 PM in reply to Tally
      So because your child is private funded are you saying that school is 100% privately funded. Their is no grant money or any federal or state money coming in? Ohhhh okkkk. and we all are going to get paid on Friday.(yeah right)
  • by Wow on Jul 13, 2011 at 08:36 AM
    Really sounds like and innovative and excellent school to me.
  • by The real problem on Jul 13, 2011 at 07:19 AM
    I do not agree with the statement made in the newscast that "...it is not possible to determine the reason this happened". It is absolutely possible to determine why anything dealing with money and numbers happened. While maybe the Executive Director and/or others misappropriated funds, the likely, bottom-line, cause of this problem probably resulted because the parents of the kids did not pay the full amount due from them for the education of their children. Even with government funding, it seems likely that there is a portion of the education which is due from the parents. Again, my guess is that too many parents did not pay their required portion of their child's tuition. A statement from the school on the amount of outstanding unpaid tuition owed by parents, may shed some real light on this situation. The problem is, the school may not even have a reliable enough account system to be able to determine the amount due to them from the parents. Sure, they may scramble to put something together after the fact to try to salvage the situation, but my guess is that poor attention to detail in this area is the real culprit.
    • reply
      by Dave Ramsey is an excellent person to listen to on the radio 7pm to 8pm on Jul 13, 2011 at 04:30 PM in reply to The real problem
      Please stop campaigning for a new accounting system. That is just crazy, your not making payroll.You do not need to spend payroll money on new software so your job will be easier. What did we do before computers. Pen and Paper. Try that. Or learn excel, because you don't really have that many student accounts to keep up with.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 12, 2011 at 03:55 PM
    If they are not trying to hide anything from the public why are they telling you all to keep quiet. I feel they didn't want the public to start questioning where all this funding was coming from.
  • by Silence only enables people to keep doing you wrong on Jul 12, 2011 at 03:16 PM
    In response to Bishop Jacob Turner comment warning about "who benefits from us(I assume he means black people) sharing like this?" I like to say this if you are implying you think the white people are the enemy. The white people did not do this to those teachers. The black people did and it was only when they started to tell the white people about it that they were given their money prior to that they were doing anything and everthing to bully you all into silence.
    • reply
      by Bishop Jacob Turner on Jul 12, 2011 at 06:06 PM in reply to Silence only enables people to keep doing you wrong
      I apologize if that statement was seemed coded..by US I mean Christians and by enemy I mean the devil..thank you for the opportunity to clarify my thoughts...unfortunately or fortunately I don't have any knowledge of those events...but I have made major mistakes in life..before becoming a preacher and after..in fact made some last week...I have mismanged my money and others...yet I learned, my commitment to righteousness is growing and I'm doing better...if I could just learn how to use spell check in my responses...Lord help me....any I agree with you Silence only enables people to keep doing you wrong!
      • reply
        by Silence only enables people to keep doing you wrong on Jul 13, 2011 at 03:28 AM in reply to Bishop Jacob Turner
        I nor our the others that were share to our the "devil" or the "enemy." Quit trying to suppress people by telling them not to share whith others when they have be done wrong. Quit trying to scare them by telling them we are the "devil" and the "enemy". We are not the ones that let them come to work thinking they were going to get paid on such and such date when we knew full well in advance that they were not and did not warn them because we want to con them. As far as the claimm you did not have anyknowledge. I don't believe that one bit. You read the comments in these blogs just Like I did. You are trying to tell me you did not see any indication on any of these comments or videos that the teachers were being bullied into silence? If they were not being bullied and suppressed into silence, why were they afraid to show their face's on camera?
        • reply
          by Bishop Jacob Turner on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:19 AM in reply to Silence only enables people to keep doing you wrong
          I agree with you, people should share with others when they have been done wrong...and their voices should not be suppressed and they should not be bullied..I don't think you are the devil and I'm not implying that..forgive me again if that's what it sounds like...I read the post and was moved to creat an opportunity for additional prayer of positive affirmation for those involved...but I don't know any of the details of this present situation...just see a lot of hurt, dissapointed and angry people...thank you for the opportunity to reply..take care of yourself and keep up the good work..your voice is much needed in a forum like this..thnks..
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