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Former Employees Claim Texas Charter School Violated Texas Labor Law

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Irving, TXFormer employees have claimed that Winfree Academy, a network of six charter schools in North Texas, has violated Texas labor law by hiring friends and family members over more qualified candidates, the Dallas Morning News reports.

According to state records, complaints of nepotism at the academy date back to at least 2001, the news source said.

One employee, who filed an anonymous complaint with the Texas Education Agency in 2004, said that "a great majority of people that are hired seem to be friends or relatives of the owners and principals...qualified candidates were passed over so that a friend of the owner could be hired. Positions are filled, not based on qualifications, but by who is on the 'inside.'"

Melody Chalkley, a former public high school teacher who started the academy in 1997, told the news provider that such accusations are unfair and untrue. She explained that family members and friends were instrumental in the expansion of the academy.

"There were months and months where there was absolutely no pay at all" for those people, she told the news provider.


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