Orleans School Board to consider budget revisions

Revised budget, capital project also on School Board agenda

The Orleans Parish School Board will likely look at budget revisions, updates on new charter schools and capital project when it meets Tuesday, based on committee meeting action last week.

The revised budget includes an addition of just over $1.2 million in revenue, and just under $1.5 million in expenditures.

Based on the October student count, which was lower than expected, the budget subtracts $161,000 from the category of per-pupil funding.

Accounting for the cost of real estate tax billing and collection, the budget adds an increase of $1.2 million.

In the board’s general fund year-to-date, revenues exceed expenditures by about $760,000.

The board’s Property Committee voted to recommend renewing the district’s property insurance with Gallagher Risk Management Services for the 2013-2014 school year. The coverage provides $50 million in coverage at a savings of $75,000 on premiums from the previous year.

Kathleen Padian, deputy superintendent for charter schools, updated the board’s Accountability Committee Thursday on the status of charter schools opening next year.

Bricolage Academy will open with a kindergarten class of 75 students at a temporary location still to be announced. The school has 111 students on the waiting list.

Homer A. Plessy Community School will open in the former Frederick Douglass High School building at 3820 St. Claude Ave. and will co-locate with Arise Academy.

Plessy, which has not met enrollment targets, will have another application period, Padian said.

Edna Karr High School and Alice Harte Charter School will change governance and charter types but remain at their same locations, switching from the Algiers Charter School Association under the Recovery School District to Inspire NOLA under the OPSB.

Board member Sarah Usdin requested that going into the next round of charter school applicants, a strategic plan be developed to target demographics and needs.

Board President Ira Thomas asked Padian to keep the board better informed of changes in charter contracts, so that they don’t first hear about them from constituents.

The Property Committee received an update on 23 different capital projects, including reports on completions, delays and unforeseen construction or contractor issues.

The shoring of the trusses of the roof for Sophie B. Wright Charter School will go forward, with the $180,000 contract given to DBE-certified Boines Construction and Equipment Company, who presented the second lowest bid.

Thomas asked why repairs had not already begun. At an emergency board meeting March 21, the board was presented information about extensive termite damage that resulted in the closing of the school’s cafeteria and auditorium.

Thomas was told that while the emergency status bypassed the public advertisement part of the bid process, bids still had to be collected from different companies.

The administration also announced a workshop for local construction business to improve DBE participation. The program will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 11 at Greater St. Stephens Full Gospel Baptist Church, 5600 Read Blvd.

The board will hold its regular meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday at McDonogh 35 High School, 1331 Kerlerec St.