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Board approves one-time faculty salary boost; leaders discuss enrollment with RSD

Lusher Charter School’s board of directors renewed the contract of the school’s chief executive officer and gave her and the school’s faculty a one-time pay bump at its monthly board meeting Saturday.

Board members also discussed plans to refurbish school buildings, and work with the Recovery School District to tailor its centralized enrollment process to Lusher’s admission requirements.

The board lauded Lusher’s progress under the stewardship of CEO Kathleen Riedlinger at the meeting. Her contract has been extended until the 2015-2016 school year.

The school’s academic achievement is due to the great work done by teachers and administrators, board president Blaine LeCesne said. As a show of gratitude, and to reflect the increased cost of living in the community, the board approved a one-time pay hike of $600 for all teachers and for Riedlinger and her administrative team.

The added expense will cost the school $72,000. Next year’s budget will be adjusted to reflect the changes.

In other news, Rieldlinger also told the board that the school was working with the Recovery School District to make adjustments to its OneApp enrollment process.

The centralized enrollment system, adopted earlier this year, promises to simplify enrollment process at the state-run district’s direct-run and chartered schools, as parents will only need one application to select their top eight schools. The system then selects a school based on several factors, such as school proximity and number of spaces available for siblings at one school.

Lusher and the 17 other Orleans Parish School Board-governed schools are operating under a different timeline for enrollment applications, and parents still must complete a separate application for each school they seek admission to. This has led to complaints from disgruntled parents who have missed crucial admission deadlines.

To rectify the situation, the School Board recently made a pledge to work with the state-run district to coincide enrollment dates, making it easier on parents and students – but only if the School Board gets to manage the process.

Lusher’s discussions with the state-run district are another move in this direction. Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schools Kathleen Padian said Monday that the School Board gave the go-ahead to the state district to reach out to the board’s charter schools to help finetune the enrollment process for next year.

In addition to salary and enrollment talk, board members also discussed facilities updates. Board members recently met with Orleans Parish School Board officials regarding school facility stabilization.

LeCesne and Riedlinger told the board that the School Board has agreed to refurbish Lusher’s Fortier Campus on Freret street. The makeover will include an installation of a modern fire alarm system and bringing the facility up to fire code standard, repairing its drainage system, fixing all air-conditioning units and renovating all interior and exterior building structures to ensure student safety.

The school’s stabilization project is part of a $2 billion federal funded school facilities master plan adopted by the School Board and the state-run Recovery School District in 2010. The goal is to refurbish, renovate or construct 88 school buildings to house 88 school organizations by 2016.

The board will also meet with School Board officials next month to discuss refurbishments to its Willow Street Campus. Both projects will begin later this fall.

Board members also said that the school is searching for a new location for its 150-plus kindergarten students who are now housed at the Jewish Community Center. The plan is to find a space within two years.

The next board meeting is September 8 at 10 a.m.

 

 

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