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New Beginnings’ four school budgets anticipate cuts in federal funding

New Beginnings School Foundation schools will see decreases in federal funding next year, but operating budgets remain largely the same.

The four school network will plans a budget hearing today. The public is invited to comment on projected budgets for the 2013-14 school year.

The 2013-14 operating budgets range from $3.8 million at Gentilly Terrace to $5.5 million at Lake Area New Tech Early College High School. Pierre Capdau and Medard Nelson’s budgets fall in between, at $3.9 million and $4.5 million respectively.

“The biggest changes are in federal funding,” said Director of Finance Kendal Turner. “Not because [schools] lost it, but because the grants expired.”

Turner said both the High Performance Schools Initiative and Gulf Coast Recovery Initiative grants expire this year.

The network oversees three elementary schools and one high school:

Pierre Capdau Charter School—$3.9 million

Capdau will see a 4 percent decrease in revenue reflected in a 4 percent drop in spending for the 2013-14 school year. The school receives both federal and state funding, but federal funding is expected to drop by 25 percent, or $224,239. That is largely due to the expiration of two grants.

Capdau has struggled with enrollment in the past and has the lowest projected enrollment of the four schools at 398 students. The school has relocated several times during its short existence. Formerly in Gentilly, the school is now on Canal Street in Mid-City.

Medard Nelson Charter School—$4.5 million

Nelson’s 20 percent increase in local revenue will not quite make up for its 40 percent decrease in federal revenue. Overall, revenue will decline about 4 percent when compared to 2012-13. The network will decrease expenses at the elementary school by four percent.

Nelson is slated to enroll 494 students, according to documents distributed by the network Wednesday. The increase in local revenue can be attributed to a rise in enrollment.

Last year’s budget only shows a $1,600 budget for materials and supplies. This year, materials and supplies are budgeted at over $70,000.

Gentilly Terrace Charter School—$3.8 million

Gentilly Terrace’s budget remains relatively stable, with a only a half-percent reduction in funding. The school plans to decrease spending by a little over 6 percent or $258,315.

The school is shifting to have grade specific teachers rather than a departmental system, leading to a reduction in general education teachers, according to documents provided to The Lens. The salary line item reflects a $7,000 decrease from last year to this year.

Lake Area New Tech Early College High School—$5.5 million

With the highest enrollment of any network school at 663 projected students, the Lake Area New Tech Early College High School also has the largest operating budget.

The high school is anticipating a 18 percent increase in local revenue, or about $415,000. Decreases in state and federal funding amount to about half of that, at almost $200,000. The school is budgeting a 3 percent increase in expenditures.

Turner said the network operates on a portion of each schools’ per-pupil enrollment. Each school funds the network based on enrollment. The network’s operating budget is about $2.1 million up from $1.8 million last year.

School contributions to that $2.1 million network budget range from $421,874 from Pierre Capdau, the network’s smallest school, to $702,770 from the high school.

Each elementary school is also accounting for an increase in transportation costs. The elementary schools budgeted between $260,000 to $265,000 for transportation during the 2012-13 school year. That number is rising to between $285,000 and $290,000 in 2013-14. The high school did not account for an increase in transportation costs and its $370,000 budget remains the same.

Turner said contributions to the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana have increased from 24.5 percent to 27.2 percent.

The hearing will be held at 4 p.m. at the network’s office, 2045 Lakeshore Drive, CERM Building, Suite 415.

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