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Board lacks quorum for meeting, reviews SPS, enrollment and finances

Lacking a quorum at Thursday night’s meeting, the KIPP board met with staff to review test scores, enrollment, and financial statements. By the letter grade system currently in place, KIPP Believe and KIPP Central City Academy scored B’s—two of only three B’s in the Recovery School District this year. KIPP Believe was ranked as the highest scoring RSD school.

Using a system that factors in attendance and graduation rates as well as state test scores, KIPP McDonogh 15 ranked at a C grade level while KIPP Central City Primary, KIPP Renaissance High School and KIPP New Orleans Leadership Academy scored D’s. Todd Purvis, KIPP’s Chief Academic Officer, explained that the range in scores across schools came from a complex number of factors including how long a school had been a part of KIPP’s charter.

Many board members expressed frustration with the constantly changing methods behind school evaluations. In an effort to bring Louisiana schools up to speed with national No Child Left Behind measurements, the state will once again change the grading system for schools next year.

Enrollment at KIPP’s schools came in just four students short of the budgeted mark this year, with a total enrollment of 3,213 students. Schools that changed location—particularly KIPP Renaissance High School—saw the most attrition. Schools at new campuses saw an attrition rate of 22 percent, still below the RSD average of almost 30 percent.

In financial news, the board has been able to cut expenses in busing by providing all KIPP schools with a tiered busing system. This year KIPP will spend $724 per student on transportation, down from last year’s $869 per student. In all, the new system will save $9,888 throughout the year.

KIPP plans to hold a meeting next month to make up for the lack of a simple majority needed to place votes on action items. The only action item on the agenda was a vote to sign on to a Louisiana Association of Charter Schools Guiding Principles for Governance document which many hope will foster communication between New Orleans’s charter schools and elected officials.

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