School District Sues Private School

School District Sues Private School

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Granite School District has sued Deseret Academy, a private school based on Mormon theology, to recoup more than $31,500 owed for rent and other alleged debts.

The district claims in the 3rd District Court suit filed Tuesday that Deseret Academy owes $24,000 for rent of Holladay Elementary last school year, and more than $7,000 for delinquent utility bills. It also seeks attorneys' fees and 12 percent interest.

Deseret Academy executive director Patti L. Adams said, "There has never been any intention of the school to default, or cheat anyone out of rent or anything. We're working to pay everyone back we owe. We will pay Granite District back."

Deseret Academy also faces legal action from a private property owner for $32,500 in unpaid rent at its old Murray campus, in which the school opened in 1998.

While at that location, the academy also fell eight months to a year behind on payments to Murray School District, with which it contracted for school lunch, Superintendent Richard Granter said. The district since has received the $6,000 owed.

Deseret Academy is an accredited private school for kindergartners through 12th-graders. It weaves teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in curriculum, but the church does not sponsor the academy.

The school has 140 students. `

In an August 2002 Deseret News interview, Adams said people at first flocked to her school because of its Mormon niche -- and because tuition was unrealistically low. She said it later discovered "what it really costs to operate a private school."

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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