Sojourner Truth Academy is striving to finish strong, with 46 of 47 seniors set to graduate and the school meeting all deadlines as it prepares to close its doors and go out of business, the board learned at its monthly meeting, May 15.
The school lost its charter and is being closed for failure to meet minimum state performance standards. Recovery School District representative Patrick Walsh acknowledged that shutting down a school creates a difficult situation, but praised Sojourner Truth for handling itself with aplomb. The process is moving along relatively smoothly and many of the “big hurdles” have been overcome, he said.
Walsh recently met with several board members to discuss the process, with a focus on financial matters, and will meet again with the group in the near future. While there are many tasks still to be handled, Walsh said the “only real big concern is the finances.”
The school appears to have money enough to meet year-end obligations, according to Keith Crawford, chairman of the board’s finance committee. Increased clarity about expected federal reimbursements has firmed up the school’s financial projections, and Crawford said he does not expect any surprises down the line.
Board member Annie Balart Michaels is tying up loose ends regarding the documentation of grant expenditures. At the June board meeting, Michaels will report on how funds were spent and the status of any balances.
End-of-year testing results were expected on May 18. Students needing remediation will be able to attend classes at Walter L. Cohen Senior High School.
Graduating seniors will walk across the stage at Dillard University on May 21 at 6 p.m. Any seniors needing to make up missed time and work were offered the opportunity to do so during the week of May 14.
The last day of school for lower grades is May 24. The culmination of the school year will be celebrated with a crawfish party and an awards ceremony.
All underclassmen have received their Recovery School District placements for next year. When Crawford asked the staff whether students received their top choices, one administrator shook his head. Another administrator said she had not heard of any major dissatisfaction from parents regarding student placements. Any student or parent can appeal the placement.
Charline Wright reported that attendance has been “pretty consistent,” hovering around 80 percent. The results of end-of-course testing, which concluded this past Thursday, will be presented at the next board meeting.
The board agreed to extend the expiring terms of officers through the end of the shut-down process.
The 45-minute meeting ended with the board going into an executive session but without specifying why. The next board meeting is June 19 at 5:45 pm.
In addition to Burvant, Crawford, Michaels and Wright, members present included, Lawliss Turner, Sybil Favrot, Alice Parkerson and Victoria Johnson. Board members Ryan Mast and Elizabeth Rhodes were absent. Five administrators and five members of the public were in attendance.