LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- A Las Vegas trade school fought to keep its doors open, after Art Institutes across the country, announced they were closing.

A valley teacher spearheaded efforts to save the school here. But now, with the school’s ownership in limbo, teachers haven’t been paid in 10 weeks. And some students said they’re confused in the classroom.

The case to decide who owns the school has been sitting in court for months. William Turbay is the teacher who fought to keep it open. He said Monday was the last day for anyone to object. Now that they’ve cleared that hurdle, they can move forward.

“It’s very all up in the air and it’s very scary,” student Rebecca Fix said.

The doors stayed open, but some rooms are still locked. Some lights are turned off. And it’s leaving students in the dark.

“They closed the student store,” Fix said. “It was just empty hallways and it was just weird.”

“We don’t know about the cost, we don’t know is this going to be credited. And if they do the name change, is she going to be able to graduate on time,” Fix’s mother Jenniffer Figueroa said. “It’s just frustrating.”

Those are some of the questions Fix and her mom had. Fix wants to be an animation artist. She only needs one more quarter to graduate.

art institute


“With how many students have already dropped out and left, the class schedule has been very scattered,” Fix said. “I haven’t taken any of my 2D animation classes, which are really important because those are the main classes I want to take.”

Turbay agreed the school has been running on a tight budget.

“I have all these people that want to invest in the school or lend money but since it didn’t belong to us, it’s like well we’re not going to pay money when there’s no guarantee,” he said.

And without official ownership, more than 60 teachers and staff have had to work without pay for 10 weeks.

“These are people who have stuck with us and the students, without being paid for 10 weeks – no pay, no nothing,” Turbay said.

Turbay is a teacher himself. He understands why students and parents are frustrated. But he wants to assure them things will get better.

“We have plans, big plans, big plans for the school,” he said.

He’s not ready to reveal those big plans, including the school’s new name. But he said students’ credits and financial aid will carry over.

“The insecurity is going to be gone,” Turbay said. “That’s the biggest thing, the PTSD that students have suffered, the PTSD that parents have suffered, the PTSD that teachers have suffered.”

He wants everyone in the classroom to know their effort and education is still worth it.

“The community needs our art school and our culinary school. We’re the only culinary school left,” he said. “While we were going down, we were thinking of how to move it back up. Thank you, that’s it. Thanks for your faith.”

There are more than 200 students enrolled this quarter. Once the ownership transfer over, it will be a for-benefit school. Turbay said he’s spoken to at least 13 teachers who want to return. And the school plans to recruit international students, once fully operating.

Turbay said they could get official word from the court as early as Tuesday. They hope to have everything set up for the new school by the Fall quarter.

Copyright 2019 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved

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(1) comment


I was a faculty member of the Art Institute for 11 years. I stopped teaching there this semester for a few reasons. 1. I had not (still haven't) been paid in over 6 months (the article above said 10 weeks when it was already 3 months at that date.) 2. Campus morale was very low and frankly I felt unsafe with how many disturbed students and laid off employees there were, including all security. Our crisis planning was very poor. 3. The lack of transparency and communication was difficult to overlook.

At one point I would have happily taught there for another 11 years.

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