Previously: Jallon Brown is trying to get her charter school up and running, care for her 7-month-old baby and prepare for her wedding. Her time is so scarce she's hired a wedding planner. To catch up on earlier episodes, go to www.washingtonpost.com/adventures.
One of Jallon Brown's teachers is fed up. It's the third week of summer school at KIPP Harbor Academy, and Megan Hall, who is teaching social studies and writing, has not been paid.
"It's been a big hassle," says Hall, who is 25 and previously taught seventh-graders at a Washington charter school. "I have bills that I haven't been able to pay."
KIPP Harbor's payroll has been something of a headache for Jallon, the 31-year-old principal of Annapolis's first public charter middle school. Some salaries, including Jallon's, are paid through the school's nonprofit organization, the Knowledge Is Power Program. But two teaching positions -- Hall's and that of a still-to-be-hired math teacher -- are funded directly by the Anne Arundel County public school system.
Jallon is going to have to pay a visit to the school system's central office to chase down Hall's paycheck. So, as KIPP Harbor's nearly 80 fifth-graders solve math problems and read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the principal slips out the back door and drives her SUV over to the headquarters on Riva Road.
She takes a deep breath before stepping inside the central administration building. For a long time some school system officials opposed her idea for opening a public charter school, complaining that it would drain students and resources away from the two traditional middle schools in Annapolis.
The receptionist recognizes Jallon and says that someone will be with her. Soon Jallon is walking through a maze of cubicles, trailing after two women with ID badges dangling from their necks.
Jallon explains the situation to the administrators: Hall has already worked for 15 days, three in professional development and 12 teaching. One of the school system officials isn't sure how much to pay Hall. Calculators come out. Charts and tables scoot across the desk. Labor agreements are pondered, and Jallon carefully reminds the women that KIPP teachers get paid 20 percent more than other teachers because they work extended hours, from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., plus some Saturdays. Hall's Social Security number is punched into a computer. A dollar figure is derived and doubled-checked. Jallon agrees with the amount, and the administrators promise that a check will be mailed to Hall's house in a few days.
Jallon shakes hands with the officials and heads for her car. She's solved this problem in 15 minutes, but she knows there will be others waiting for her when she returns to school.
-- Tyler Currie