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Enrollment projected to climb next year; priority zip codes could cut bus costs

Encore Academy’s board of directors held a retreat Saturday, to focus on strategic planning and board development.

School leader Terri Smith discussed plans for the 2013-2014 school year. Currently at 206 students, she projects next year’s enrollment to be 295. Smith said next years student population would require 14 classrooms, but she believes they could stay at the building shared with Crocker Arts and Technology School.

Smith recommended that the school participate in the centralized enrollment process, but with the addition of priority zip codes as a factor in student selection. Last year the process was called OneApp.  Smith said when the process begins again in December it will likely be referred to as Enroll NOLA.
Smith said she has been serving on an advisory committee for the new system. The centralized enrollment process would provide an algorithm which places students in schools according to several factors.  These factors can include the students ranking of their choice of schools and factors the school sets forward, such as priority zip codes or sibling preference.
Smith noted that most students live in zip codes 70118, 70115 and 70125, but she said she would also include 70113. She said remaining a neighborhood school could help reduce transportation costs as well as shorten bus rides.

Smith said the enrollment currently includes students from all over the city and as far away as Venetian Isles. Some ride the bus for almost four hours a day.  She said only 100 of 206 students use buses, at a monthly cost of $29,000.

The board will make a decision regarding Encore’s participation in the centralized process at its next board meeting.

In other business, members discussed combining some committees, a move that will be up for approval at the board meeting later this month.

“We don’t want to have more committees, we want to have less and do more work in them,” Kesana Durand said.

The board broke into working groups to develop goals and a meeting schedule for each committee. These will also be discussed and up for approval at the next meeting.

Members also discussed creating an application for prospective board members to fill out. The board currently accepts resumes, but reviewed other districts applications and will create its own.

A prospective board member, Clare Hall, attended the meeting and participated in committee discussions.  She will be submitting her resume to the board for review.

Board member Frannie Montegut reviewed key points of the state’s open-meetings law and public-records laws as well as the Louisiana Local Government Budget Act.

In addition to Durand and Montegut, members Ashleigh Bergeron, Herb Patterson, and Linda Launey were present.  The next board meeting is Nov. 27.

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