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New campus wins plaudits and yields savings; recruitment continues

The Milestone/SABIS board approved the 2012-13 operating budget and introduced a new president at its first meeting of the new school year, Aug. 20.

Lorin Crenshaw, former vice president, replaces Leslie Ellison as president. Nayita Wilson is the new vice president. Ellison is running for a fourth-district seat on the Orleans Parish School Board.

Crenshaw thanked Wilson, principal Catherine Boozer and finance director Rodney Lilley for their help in securing the school’s new Gretna facility. Bigger quarters, including a stand-alone gym, library, science lab and cafeteria, is the “ideal facility to bridge our growth as we continue to expand,” Crenshaw said.

The new campus rents for $200,000 a year, $240,000 less than the school’s former Uptown New Orleans campus. Maintenance and repair costs are expected to drop by $112,000.

In her principal’s report, Boozer said parents, staff and students are generally delighted with the new location, and the transition has been smooth.

In an update on enrollment, Boozer said the school currently has 503 students, 25 fewer than its 528-student target. To ramp up recruitment the school is running advertisements on Q93-FM radio.

In other business, George Saad, vice president of U.S. operations for SABIS, a for-profit management company, gave a detailed report on last year’s LEAP and iLEAP scores—Louisiana’s end-of-year student evaluation exams.

According to the eight-page SABIS report, the school outperformed its competition in the Recovery School District on 75 percent of all tests taken in grades three through eight and in every subject at the eighth-grade level.

Saad added that the attractive new campus and the addition of a ninth grade should improve student retention and foster continuing growth. Adoption next year of the national Common Core curriculum will upgrade academic performance and also make for a more accurate assessment of how the school is doing.

The meeting lasted 90 minute. The next board meeting is Sept. 17.

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