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Einstein plans 5 p.m. public hearing tonight on $8.1 million budget plan

Einstein Charter School’s budget will nearly double next year.

That’s to be expected as the single charter school prepares to take over academically failing Intercultural Charter School come July 1 expanding the budget from $4.6 million to $8.1 million in the 2013-2014 school year.

The governing board that oversees Einstein will meet tonight at 5 p.m. at Village De L’est Community Building, 5100 Cannes St., to receive public input the proposed budget.

Einstein was awarded a $1 million federal grant this year to aid in the turnaround process.

The grant money fosters an incubation period allowing Einstein school leaders to begin growing into a charter management organization, as they will soon operate a second school.

During the last several months, for example, Einstein’s principal Shawn Toranto has prepared to transition to chief executive officer of Einstein Group. Other office staff, both finance and IT, are also making plans to take on two schools.

During the 2013-14 school year Doug Guidry, the school’s business manager, said the network will receive about $650,000 of that $1 million grant.

“About 80 percent of our costs are tied up in salaries and benefits to our employees,” Guidry said Tuesday.

Salaries for elementary teachers will increase by 43 percent, from $1.1 million to $1.6 million. The network is adding more elementary aides, increasing the total salary expenditures by 91.6 percent, from $290,365 to $556,825 for 28 positions.

Toranto will earn $181,369 to supervise the network staff, and each school will have its own principal.

Einstein has a new $400,000 line item this year: a transportation budget. That’s half of the grant New Schools for New Orleans awarded Einstein in conjunction with the federal grant. Einstein does not currently provide transportation for its students but the charter school support organization gave the school an additional grant to bus current Intercultural students who return to the school, a requirement of the federal grant.

Both schools will continue to participate in the teacher’s retirement system of Louisiana, a system some charter schools and networks have dropped for 401(k)’s or other retirement plans. Guidry said the contribution rate is 27.2 percent this year, up from 24.5 percent last year. This year, on the $1.6 million salaries of elementary teachers for example, Einstein will pay in $518,375 in retirement benefits.

Guidry designed the budget based on a projected $8,168 per student in state funding, though he said with the per pupil formula up in the air that could impact the schools’ budgets.

While most departments within the school are expanding, the pre-kindergarten program is not. Guidry explained that the network hasn’t been guaranteed any funding at the site of Intercultural, which they will call Einstein Extension.

Correction: Einstein Charter School’s governing board must provide transportation to students from Intercultural Charter School who decide to remain at the campus, under the terms of a federal grant. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the terms of the busing requirement.

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  • nickelndime

    Marta, I hate to be the one to tell you this, sweetheart, but somebody should have been covering Einstein while you were away at Lycee’ (Ha!). There are holes all over this “proposed” budget that will not be filled (with NSNO/federal grant money). Not one of these individuals (CEO/CFO/principals Stewart or Lewis) are on target or have a clue. Busing has been introduced to both campuses whether Toranto realizes it or not. A bunch of people who have hired will be told they have no job come August. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?!

  • nickelndime

    BTW, Guidry (the Einstein business manager) does not hold the qualifications for a public school (charter) business manager in Louisiana, but what the hey, neither does Stan Smith (not an Active CPA or certified by the State “board”). Welcome to Louisiana! Yet, Guidry, D.D.S., a Doctor of Dental Surgery, is one of the highest paid business managers in Louisiana. LOL and rolling on the floor.