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Finances looking better for Sci High charter school, board’s treasurer says

The New Orleans Charter Science & Mathematics High School board members and co-principals met June 20 to discuss finances and enrollment. The meeting was led by Secretary Sybil Morial.

Treasurer Jim Schneiders provided the financial report, detailing some positive news. Schneiders said that, thanks to better cash flow and management of payables, the school now has almost $60,000 in net income for the year instead of the previous potential budget shortfall of $42,000.

Finances regarding the Foundation for Science and Mathematics Education, which supports Sci High, were discussed by community leader Florence Andre and Director of Advancement Martha McKnight. Sci High is on track to pay the foundation back by the end of this fiscal year. Co-Principal of Academics Chana Benenson praised the foundation for its consistently high-quality support of Sci High.

Benenson, along with Co-Principal of Student Development Claire Jecklin, provided a school director’s report. As of the meeting, Jecklin stated that the school was currently accepting all grades and that there was no waiting list.

“Our numbers haven’t shifted drastically but names and movements [from grade to grade] have,” Jecklin said.

The school is confident in 9th grade enrollment and is looking to take on more 11th graders. Currently, juniors are are the smallest class at Sci High.

A total of 319 students are enrolled with full documentation, including about 100 new students. Ninety other students are deemed questionable in enrollment either due to missing pieces in their paperwork or because their parents have yet to re-enroll them.

Jecklin suspects that parents have neglected to re-enroll their students since re-enrollment was not needed in middle school but is mandatory in high school.

The school was approved for a 21st Century Grant which will fund enrichment and after-school programs.

“We’re very glad for that. A school without enrichment is a sad school indeed,” said Jecklin.

The school has also decided to partner with First Line to provide busing for students. First Line was pivotal in that negotiation, offering either four buses for the price of three or a reduced price for three buses. The school is looking to  partner with a nearby KIPP middle school in this venture.

Sci High will be starting 10 minutes early to accommodate the middle school’s schedule. First bell will now be at 7:45 a.m., with students in their seats by 7:50 am. Buses will pick up high schoolers and drop them off at Sci High, then pick up and drop off middle schoolers.

The school also is looking into offering dinners for their students. Dinner would be offered during a 15-minute window between when the school day ends and bus pick-up.

Board members went into executive session to discuss personnel committee matters.  The motion for an executive session was passed unanimously at 5:37 p.m. and members resumed the regular board meeting at 6:03 p.m.

The board unanimously approved raises for both principals, putting their salaries at $80,000. The board also unanimously passed interim evaluation procedures and grievances and recommendations detailed in the executive session.

The meeting ended at 6:04pm and was attended by all board members as well as the school’s co-principals. The board does not anticipate holding a July meeting.

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