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Board for Harriet Tubman Charter School begins to budget for addition of Akili Academy

The board that governs Harriet Tubman Charter School, which, in July, will extend its governing arm to Akili Academy, approved a budget for Tubman at its June meeting based on $5.3 million in revenues.

The board also approved a $930,000 budget for Crescent City Schools, the charter management organization that runs the school. The organization will collect nonrecurring revenue from both Tubman and Akili, for a total of just more than $600,000. It has also raised more than $300,000 for next year through fundraising efforts.

This means that the budget includes an 11 percent decrease in expected revenues for Tubman and a 145 percent increase in expected expenditures for the management organization. Board members explained that the management organization’s budget is being increased because it will be responsible for running Akili Academy later this year, and new positions were created to help take on the extra management duties.

Revenues for Tubman are dropping because the school is no longer eligible for federal start-up money.  Tubman’s planned expenses are down 7 percent; however, the school is still expected to operate with a $200,000 surplus. The school operated at a $500,000 surplus for the 2011-2012 school year.

According to school leaders, there will be little to no loss in services despite the planned expense cuts because leaders are getting a better handle on managing expenses. Additionally, some costs incurred during the school’s first year are not expected to be repeated. For example, when the Crescent City management organization took over Tubman last year, the organization launched a large communications campaign aimed at Algiers parents to attract new students. Staffers also gave the Gen. Meyer Avenue school building a much-needed makeover, painting classrooms and cleaning the building. Officials also had to buy textbooks, library books, and other materials.

Those one-time costs aren’t in the school’s 2012-2013 budget. It’s planning to spend $90,000 less on repairs and maintenance next year, and nearly $50,000 less on communication efforts and miscellaneous purchases. Materials and supplies costs are down by $200,000, with the largest drop being in textbook costs.

Harriet Tubman’s managing board presented and approved its budget in the same meeting, after advertising the meeting in the Times Picayune on June 10, which falls in line with legal requirements. The board invited public comment before approving the budget.

Akili’s board of directors is still in control of that school, for the time being, and is slated to discuss and approve its budget on June 25.

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