JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville charter school is demanding answers after administrators say they shelled out tens of thousands of dollars for equipment that hasn't been installed.
SALTech Charter High School, located in the Brentwood area, primarily serves at-risk youth with technical training in careers ranging from cyber security to cosmetology.
“We like to think that they all have the potential to do well,” SALTech Principal and CEO Michael LaRoche said.
LaRoche said the school moved to its new location last fall.
“We ordered over $326,000 worth of tech equipment,” LaRoche said. The leased equipment included computers, televisions, cameras and security equipment.
To get the equipment, the school partnered with California-based company School Tech Supply. School Tech Supply contracted Green Cove Springs-based Ace Tech Solutions LLC to install the equipment, at the request of the school, the CEO of School Tech Supply told First Coast News Monday.
“The installation proceeded as soon as different parts of the building became available to do that installation,” LaRoche said.
LaRoche said the building was complete four months ago, meaning the installation could proceed in the remaining rooms. But that didn’t happen, LaRoche said.
“We have since then received a number of timelines to complete installation of all the tech equipment and those timelines have come and gone and have never been met,” he said.
Nearly a year later, around 25 percent of the equipment still sits in boxes inside storage closets at the school. LaRoche said the school has been paying to lease the equipment since it was delivered in the fall, even though they haven’t been able to use it.
“Some $10,400 a month,” he said.
With just three weeks until the start of school, LaRoche worried about the impact it would have on students.
“We have paid for exactly what it is you told us you wanted so why can’t you deliver the services that you have been paid for,” he said.
School Tech Supply CEO Marc Netka said the company only learned about the problem two weeks ago. Since then, Netka said he’s been in contact with Ace Tech Solutions daily to figure out when they will install the remaining equipment. Netka said they are committed to finishing everything by August 21, the first day of school.