Teachers fight for back pay after South Jersey school and day care closes

Mike Dougherty
April 12, 2019 - 12:38 pm
Kids Castle daycare and school

Mike Dougherty/KYW Newsradio

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BLACKWOOD, N.J. (KYW Newsradio) — Employees at a now-closed school and daycare center in South Jersey have hired an attorney to get back pay from the owner, who has filed for bankruptcy.

There's a "For Sale" sign up at Kids Castle in Barrington, which closed abruptly last month. Alex Colella worked there for 12 years and says he had a good relationship with the owner up until the end.

"She's always treated me great. I have no problem, personally," he said. "I would just like my 6,000-plus dollars."

Alex Coella and Kate Scott
Mike Dougherty/KYW Newsradio

He says teachers saw enrollment dropping, but nobody knew just how bad it was until they stopped getting paid.

"According to the bankruptcy documents that we've seen, she owes the IRS, I believe, $500,000," he said.

Kate Scott worked there for only six months and thought it was weird they got paid in cash. That's causing problems now.

"I'm unable to prove that I made the amount of money that I made, or didn't make, to the labor enforcement people," she said. "So I can't collect unemployment, because I have no proof."

Scott and Colella fear there will be no money left to pay them after the government gets its money.

Parents are also upset. Some of them pre-paid tuition that hasn't been refunded. They have set up a GoFundMe for the teachers.

The owner's attorney did not respond to requests for comment.

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CORRECTION: This story has been updated to reflect that the school is locagted in Barrington, N.J.