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Board hears reports on school construction and temporary office; seeks $5 million literacy grant

Finances and campus facility changes were the topics of discussion at the monthly meeting of the FirstLine charter school board, Jan. 24.

A financial summary for the 2012 school year projects $1,051,631 will be available in the net fund to operate FirstLine’s network of schools: Arthur Ashe, Samuel J. Green, John Dibert and Joseph S. Clark; another $249,332 will be available to operate Langston Hughes charter schools.

Facilities committee member Brian Egana announced FirstLine’s temporary move into a new office at 4200 Canal St. Eighty-five percent of the network’s staff have moved into the space under a temporary three-month lease, while FirstLine searches for a permanent office and space for The Net program now housed at Clark.

The new Ashe campus is under construction in Gentilly’s Oak Park neighborhood, on the site of the old Bienville Elementary School. With construction on schedule for a June completion date, the school will be open for summer classes in July. Concerns were voiced about improving the poor condition of streets after construction is completed.

FirstLine plans to go door-to-door to recruit new students, members learned, and eventually, Dibert will also relocate because its current campus is to be land banked and sold.

The development committee reported that  FirstLine is applying for a $5 million literacy grant and hopes to receive a $75,000 grant from Kellogg for school gardens. It was pointed out that FirstLine has had better success with foundations than corporate support. As a result of BESE approving FirstLine to take over NOLA 180, the board that manages Hughes will transfer all benefits, bank accounts and staff to FirstLine.

Board members present were chief operating officer Adrian Morgan, chief financial officer Shailendra Baghel, Stephen Rosenthal, chief executive officer Jay Altman, Dana Peterson, Gregory St. Etienne, Alison Hartman, Catherine Pierson, Lawrence Kullman and Brian Egana. The next meeting is scheduled on Feb. 28 at 4 p.m.

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