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Vacation move to new campus postponed; enrollment lag blamed on storm, vouchers

The former Frantz Elementary building will not be ready in time for the scheduled Dec. 26 move-in date, members of the Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School board learned at their monthly meeting, Oct. 2.

Mays principal Shanda Gentry was informed of the delay via email from Lona Hankins, the Recovery School District’s director of capital improvements.  Gentry said the building is now projected to be ready in the spring.  While moving mid-semester is discouraged by the RSD, the choice ultimately is the school leader’s, Gentry said.

Mays is now 48 students short of its projected enrollment, Gentry said.  She cited Hurricane Isaac relocations and the voucher program as contributing factors.

She said she was pleased to note that some parents have formed a committee which could turn into a parent-teacher organization.  Meanwhile, dean of culture Troy White has begun a “men at Mays” group for fifth- and sixth-grade boys, aiming to provide strong role models for them, Gentry said.  Several men on the board volunteered to work with the group.

Director of finance Brent Washington said the audit would be presented at the next board meeting and that he was preparing the annual finance report.  The board’s finance committee will work with Washington over the next month to update the school’s financial policies and procedures.

Students recently completed Achievement Network testing, Gentry said, adding that test results will be used to re-teach areas of low student performance.  All students were informed of their results and required to set goals with their parents and teachers for a second round of testing in mid-November.

The board revealed plans to interview prospective members in  coming weeks and perhaps elect new ones at the next meeting.

Members Raashand Hamilton, John Williams, Todd James, Damon Burns, Bonita Robertson and James Moffett were present.  The next meeting will be Oct. 29, at the school.

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