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Collegiate Academies charter leaders discuss expanding into other cities

Collegiate Academies leaders are discussing plans to open as many as six new schools in the next five years should their academic and financial success continue.

And they aren’t limiting themselves to New Orleans.

“We’re at the point now where every visitor who comes to see us asks us if we’ll open schools in their area. It makes us realize how few 9-12 [grade] operators there are out there who are doing this and doing it well,” Collegiate Academies President Morgan Ripski said during the school’s Wednesday board meeting.

Ripski said she would like to explore opening schools in other cities like Memphis and Baton Rouge.

Collegiate Academies currently oversees three schools, all in eastern New Orleans. Sci Academy located on Read Boulevard serves grades 9-12. And George Washington Carver Collegiate Academy and George Washington Carver Preparatory Academy are currently both located on Higgins Road, serving ninth-graders. Both Carver schools intend to add a grade a year until they are fully enrolled 9-12 high schools.

“We’re not just growing to grow,” Ripski said. “We’re ensuring that as we grow, we improve.”

Ripski said she feels Collegiate Academies should make plans to grow now because it’s possible the streams of funding currently available for expanding charter schools may slow in the future. Currently the organization receives funding from local sources such as the Charter School Growth Fund and New Schools for New Orleans.

Communities like Baton Rouge and Memphis have similar community needs and funding sources, she said.

The board’s growth committee could present a growth plan to the full board at its June meeting, when a vote is tentative.

The finance committee announced an adjustment of roughly $160,000 to the organization’s expenses, due mostly to higher than expected costs for food services at Sci Academy. The committee increased the anticipated expenses for food by $58,000. Additional increases came in the area of busing and maintenance bills from the Recovery School District, many of which have been higher than expected. Board treasurer Doug Finegan said the organization can still expect a surplus of $423,000.

The board also welcomed all everyone to attend Sci Academy’s annual Meet the Seniors Day on Feb. 28 at 9:00 a.m. at the school.

In attendance at the meeting were board members Susan Norwood, Doug Finegan, Bill Langenstein, Diana Lewis, Jonathan Wilson and Salmon Shomade as well as staff members Ripski, Ben Marcovitz and Riley Kennedy. The next board meeting was set for March 20 at the Carver campus.

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  • nickelndime

    That means that Collegiate Academy is being approached by New Schools for New Orleans and is earmarked to receive the federal money it administers. Get the connection? Tennessee and Baton Rouge.