(WSVN) - A group gives scholarships to two schoolchildren. The school accepts the students in the middle of the year, and how does the parent pay them back? By refusing to sign the scholarship checks so the school can get paid. What’s the solution? Call Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser, of course.

When you watch a teacher, you are reminded they don’t work with your kids every day for the money.

Bridgette Seville, High Expectations Education Center: “My dream, my passion.”

Bridgette Seville actually owns a small private school in Plantation called High Expectations, and that’s exactly what she has for her students.

Bridgette Seville: “By the time they reach kindergarten, students are really reading at a first-grade level.”

Then last December, a parent asked to enroll her first and second graders.

Bridgette Seville: “[I told their mother], ‘Come and see if the school size is what you are looking for.’ She said ‘perfect.'”

Both kids were on scholarship from a group called Step Up for Students, which paid around $1,800 per quarter per child.

After the kids enrolled, the checks arrived.

Bridgette Seville: “The check comes in the name of the school and the parents’ name also, and we are strict [in abiding by] directions. The check must not leave the school. The parent must come in to sign the check.”

But instead of being grateful and signing the checks, the mother created headaches for Bridgette, bringing the kids an hour late to school and picking them up hours after the school closed.

Bridgette Seville: “So I realized this is a little much.”

A little much, because for two months, the mother told the kids to ignore their homework.

Bridgette Seville: “They would come in and say, ‘Mommy said they didn’t have to do the homework.’ ‘Didn’t have to be done,’ and they didn’t do it.”

When Bridgette said they had to do homework and had to get to school on time, the mother withdrew the boys in February — still refusing to sign the check.

Bridgette Seville: “She told me she would come in, and the next time I called her, the number was changed.”

The mother then disappeared. Bridgette called Step Up, who issued the scholarship checks, to see if they would reissue them in just the school’s name.

Bridgette Seville

Bridgette Seville: “There is no way I can be paid if the parent refuses to sign the check. They were going to close the matter, and request that the checks be sent back to them.”

Bridgette has a small school. She is an educator, but her school is also her business, and she needs that $3,600 from those two scholarships.

Bridgette Seville: “It’s very important. There are bills to be paid — teachers to be paid, security.”

A group was nice enough to give her money to educate her kids. The school accepted them in the middle of the year, and she won’t endorse the checks.

Howard, where’s the law on this?

Howard Finkelstein: “This is a loophole in the law. The school could sue, but the parent probably won’t and can’t pay it. And if the parent doesn’t care about the consequences of their actions, the law is limited, and the parent can get away with this.”

Bridgette Seville: “So I called Patrick to inform him of what happened. He said, ‘Bridgette, I solve problems.'”

I tracked down the mother at her sister’s house. On the phone, she told me she would sign the checks.

A few minutes later, she called back and said she wouldn’t sign them.

Then we found out Step Up had given her a scholarship for a different school. That principal saved the day, refusing to give her sons their report cards until she signed the checks for Bridgette.

Bridgette Seville: “Well, I am very happy, but it makes me feel that if I did not contacted Help Me Howard, I would not have had the check signed.”

Step Up then stepped in. A spokesperson told me they had revoked the scholarships for the woman’s kids for 2017-2018, and to avoid this happening to another school, they will now send the scholarship checks electronically.

Good news for Bridgette.

Bridgette Seville: “Victorious, but I know this victory came through Patrick.”

You are gonna make me blush, Bridgette. Seriously, though, this story is a reminder of how we solve some problems that other people can’t resolve. Just keep looking for solutions. In this case, it was finding what the parent wanted: her kids’ report cards. To get them, she had to sign the scholarships for Bridgette. You just have to find that solution.

Been given a problem that really schooling you? Ready to get educated on the law? Join our class. We aren’t scholars, but we can ship out a solution for you.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN
On Twitter: @helpmehoward7

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