Gap Christian Academy in Pahokee might not start on time

Posted at 4:46 PM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-26 18:52:44-04

To Barbara Iderosa Gap Christian Academy isn't an eyesore. "Sometimes I come and I pull into the parking lot. I'm either praying for the place or I'm crying."

Barbara is the principal. Gap Christian Academy is an alternative school for kids in the Glades. Many had trouble in public school.

Her 45 students are supposed to learn here in less than a month.

That's not going to happen.

"We’re in a dilemma now because school is supposed to start August 15th," she said.

Two months ago, a fire took down the food pantry she ran next door. The school's wall has too much damage.

"It’s a very traumatic thing to go into that building. For me and for my teachers, for us to go in there and know this is the way it was before the fire," she said.

Pastor Patty Auperlee is offering space at the First United Methodist church down the street. "We should be able to help them for a semester or however long they need so these students who want an education and come to school can come to school."

But there is a problem.

An out of date fire alarm system that will cost as much as $10,000 to upgrade.

"It’s a pretty insurmountable cost at this point," the pastor says.

This church is known for opening its doors. For years, it's welcomed sex offenders into its congregation.

Auperlee says the students won't be in contact with those who aren't allowed near children. "We've implemented layer upon layer of safeguards for the protection of all persons."

Auperlee is hoping she can raise the money needed so the kids can come to her church. "We’re trusting the community is going to help recognize the need for this particular school, for these kids."

She is hoping this won't stop students from getting their education.

Iderosa is determined nothing will stop her from giving them that education in this building again. "It's a home to so many kids, you spend 180 days in school, and they come here, this is where we're supposed to be."

To make a donation please contact First United Methodist Church at 491 E. Main Street Pahokee, Fla.