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Golden Hall closed just weeks after moving into this building on E. State Highway 152. (Staff photo by Jon Watje)
 
By Jeff Harrison
Staff Writer

Parents and former employees of Golden Hall are seeking financial restitution after the Mustang private school abruptly closed nearly three weeks into the 2011-12 school year.

Jennifer Allman said she is among a dozen families owed money for advanced tuition payments made for the current school year. She said she enrolled her two young children at Golden Hall for the current school year and prepaid for three months, but did not receive a refund after pulling them out just eight days later.

Allman claims she is owed more than $1,500 for two months of tuition for her two children, but has not been able to contact any Golden Hall officials since the school closed earlier this month.

“I do not want to drag anyone through the mud, but I cannot afford to lose $1,598,” Allman said. “When I talked to people at the school before they closed, they told me I could not get a refund and I know there were at least 10 or 11 other families affected by the tuition issue. We have tried to call Aimee Golden and the school board members, but have not received a call back.”

Tiffany Pacheco says she is also seeking legal action to recoup lost wages from her former employer. Pacheco started working for the school last April, but resigned from her position as an early childhood teacher two weeks into the new school year, and claims she never received her last paycheck.

“Another former teacher and I went up to Golden Hall to pick up our paychecks on a Friday after we resigned and were told the checks had been rerouted to the post office, even though we had direct deposit,” Pacheco said. “I never received a check or payment to my account. I tried to contact Aimee Golden’s attorney, but have not received a call back and plan to file a complaint with the department of labor for the lost wages and money paid for health insurance that was never provided.”

Both women believe the troubles at Golden Hall stemmed from the decision to move the school from its former location at 301 S. Sara Road to a new building at 1150 E. State Highway 152, the former site of Cosby Ranch. Golden told the Mustang Times in a July interview that the larger facility was necessary to meet the demands of the growing enrollment.

“This is going to be double the size of our current facility and there will be 20 classrooms,” Golden said in a July interview with the paper. “We will be able to hold over 400 students in the building. We don’t have more than 15 students in a classroom except for our pre-k.”

In late July, Golden Hall had 74 students enrolled for the 2011-12 school year, ranging from pre-kindergarten to sixth grades.

The previous location is about 5,100 square feet, while the new building is 11,960.

The move did not sit well with many parents including Darrin Zdanowski-Fehr whose child planned to attend Golden Hall this year. He said he became concerned about the rush to move to the new building, which he did not believe was suited for young children. He claims the new building lacked of adequate bathroom facilities, a playground and had potentially dangerous high-voltage power lines located outside the property.

“I had some concerns about the safety of the children in the new building and did not appreciate the lack of communication about the move,” Zdanowski-Fehr said. “We parents did not learn about the decision to move to the new building until the orientation meeting in July. I did not understand what the rush was for with the new building in just the second year.”

Zdanowski-Fehr did not believe the issues would be addressed and withdrew his child from the school.

“We went in for a parent orientation meeting and they asked for volunteers to help build out the new layout of the school and planned to do ribbon cutting two days later,” Zdanowski-Fehr said. “We went in and got a refund and other parents started to follow suite.”

Allman said she was also concerned about the safety issues with the new building and lack of openness by the school officials. She said a request by parents to meet with the school board was initially denied, before a meeting was set for Aug. 29.

“They did reschedule a meeting three nights later, but Aimee Golden wasn’t present,” Allman said. “The board answered some of our questions, but a lot of the big issues were not addressed satisfactorily. And they basically told us there was nothing they could do about the new building.”

Allman later transferred her children to the newly formed Mustang Christian Academy, and believed there were only about 10 students in the school when it closed on Sept. 8.

Golden Hall operated on a year-round schedule, with classes running from mid August through July. Students would attend classes for four weeks with two weeks off.  According to the school’s website, tuition ranged from as low as $2,362 for half day pre-kindergarten to as much as $5,688 for grades 1-5.  Additional fees applied for admission testing, registration, supplies and capital improvement.

The Mustang Times made several attempts to contact Aimee Golden and members of the Golden Hall school board, but did not receive any responses, as of press time.

Visitor Comments
 
Submitted By: Ben Submitted: 9/30/2011
I was a parent of Golden Hall, so let me respond to "Jessica". I went to meetings held by both the disgruntled parents, and by the board members of Golden Hall. I talked with the teachers who were fired and who remained. I spoke with the board members and Mrs. Aimee Golden, one-on-one, many times. What made my DECISION was not "nasty emails" from parents. It was bold face lies that I had caught Mrs. Golden and the other board members in. It was pure SAFETY issues of the new school that were being ignored. 2 bathrooms for 74 kids, 1 per gender? Really? Let me ask you "Jessica", what should I have done, waited the expected SIX MONTHS and plan fundraisers for BATHROOMS? No outdoor playground? No windows? A sliding front door that stopped no one, including children, from leaving? As far as owning the OLD building, who do you think OWNED the Cosby Ranch building? A board member, who is also a big business and property owner throughout Oklahoma. *cough*TulsaInternationalRaceway*cough* I'm sure he was happy to have Golden Hall move into his building. "Jessica", you are one of three things. Either Mrs. Golden herself (or a board member) trying to save what little face the school has, one of the underlings who blindly defended her/the board to the end using the weapon of "Good Christians", or a naive sheep. I hope in your case you are just a sheep, because you can come away from this with a clean conscience and a little wiser. Otherwise, you reap what you sow.


Submitted By: Rick Submitted: 9/23/2011
It is sad when I read comments like below. Families that just arrived into a situation that was built on deception and misguided leadership have been sucked into a world of puppydogs and rainbows. Not one fact stated below has any truth or merrit. These families are going to feel silly when all comes out in the wash. I am not a part of Golden Hall, that being said, you need to see the emails from the families still serving in Iraq who have had all communication with Mrs. Golden denied. A years tuition, capital improvement and supply fees all gone while they put their trust in Golden Halls Head Mistress. Jessica, I ask you this. Where did the multiple THOUSANDS of dollars go? A good reporter gets both sides of the story. With whom at the new school have you spoken to in regards to the false accusations? I know that they would answer any and all questions supported by hard facts. Scripture tells us that we have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. There is only one perfect person and hopefully you know of whom I am speaking.


Submitted By: Jessica Submitted: 9/22/2011
We had a child that was attending Golden Hall until the last day it was formally open and he absolutely loved the school and his teacher!! We had a great experience with the school while it was open and were saddened when our son had to part with the school he enjoyed and a teacher he loved as well. The school closed because of some individuals within the school who decided to send nasty e-mails to everyone who was attending so that everyone would leave as well. The e-mails were constructed to create ill feelings toward a school and staff that otherwise would have been successful. In my opinion, the fact that these same individuals choose to call their NEW school a "CHRISTIAN" academy is ridiculous. The term Christian is to be used for those who are NOT vindictive. These indviduals also own the OLD building and that is why they manipulated the students and parents attending to leave for false accusations!! If anyone should be suing, it should be Golden Hall suing the supposed "NEW CHRISTIAN ACADEMY" for slander.





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