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Lycée Français to see 23 percent jump in budget

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans will see a $700,000 increase in revenue this year as the charter school’s operating budget jumps by 23 percent to $3.7 million.

This increase in the school’s 2013-2014 proposed operating budget largely reflects the school’s expansion to include third grade and an increase in students at existing grade levels.

The French-immersion charter school will have two classes of third grade, three second grade classes and five first grade classes when it opens its doors in the fall. Lycée is expecting 401 students this fall, according to Julianne Ruocco, Lycée’s director of finance and operations.

The Lens reviewed a comparative budget prepared by Ruocco.

Both local and state funding are increasing from $1.1 million to $1.5 million. That increase of almost 40 percent is due largely to the increase in enrollment and thus an increase in per-pupil funding Ruocco said.

Federal funding is decreasing slightly, from $175,801 to $170,240. The 2012-2013 school year was the final year Lycée received a $100,000 grant under the Public Charter Schools Program.

Federal school food service funding, which is funneled through the state, is doubling, from $29,386 last year to $60,000 in the upcoming year.

The budget includes $34,064 in Title I funding. Last year’s budget did not include any Title I funding, though Ruocco said the school ultimately received about $30,000.

“We actually had actual Title I funds awarded to us but we didn’t budget for them,” Ruocco said.

Lycée also asks families for “consumable fees,” a $250 fee per student paid by the family. While Ruocco said the school does not and cannot require the $250 fee, about 80 percent of families contribute the requested amount. She said that money goes towards materials and supplies for students and the school essentially matches that funding with the amount budgeted.

Money received from the consumable fees are combined with income from after-school care and charges associated with the school’s private preschool program. The money from those programs is expected to decrease by 18 percent this year, from $705,758 to $581,205.

Ruocco said this drop reflects the decision to have only one pre-kindergarten class for three-year-olds instead of the three classes the school had last year. The school has five kindergarten classes and four pre-K classes for four-year-olds.

Lycée’s expenses are increasing along with the jump in revenue. The school will spend about 27 percent more than this year at $3.7 million, over last year’s $2.9 million.

The bulk of that increase is reflected in salaries and benefits, also the majority of the school’s operating cost.

Salaries for teachers and assistant teachers are dropping by about 6 percent, but all other salaries are increasing, for an overall increase of 19 percent from $1.7 million to $2 million.

Salaries for school administration and secretarial positions are increasing 66 percent. Ruocco said after the budget was amended last fall it did not include positions such as an office manager, a position the school will aim to fill this year.

The line item for therapists, specialists and counselor salaries is more than quadrupling, from just $44,000 to $188,432. Ruocco said $44,000 was a low estimate last year and the school actually overspent that figure. She also said Lycée plans to add a guidance counselor this year.

The line item entitled “other” under salaries is increasing by 91 percent, from $122,285 to $234,000. Ruocco said this includes Foreign Associate Teacher stipend funds and all hourly employees.

Along with salary increases and more positions, benefits are increasing by 95 percent, from $251,897 to $490,920, a difference of $239,023.

The school’s budgeted expenses leave $63,113 in reserve funding. Last fall the school had to use its $90,000 in reserve funding to balance the budget after a previously unnoticed deficit was discovered.

Ruocco said the books from 2012-2013 aren’t quite closed yet, but she hopes to have some reserve money to carry over to the new fiscal year, which began July 1.

The public is invited to comment on the 2013-2014 budget at a public hearing Monday at the school.

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  • nickelndime

    “Almost” a quarter increase?!! Is this any surprise? Not really. Did anybody actually think for a moment that the State was going to let this Type 2 newbie charter baby die on the vine?!! Michael – they are doing it again. I am on the floor. Well, between and among Caroline Roemer Shirley, Chas Roemer and his BESE buddies, Hunnewell, the LDOE/RSD, White/Gang/Bendily/Dobard, and all of the legal and PR staff, with millions of dollars in public money to spend, Lycee will be great. I would venture to say that for every million that Lycee receives in funding, the State will have spent at least 5 times that amount to get this thing to work. And wonderful things will happen at Lycee – no doubt. But remember where you/we are. This is Louisiana! Great on paper = A+; Reality = F! Okay, Lycee stakeholders. Now you can get hysterical.

  • nickelndime

    Pay attention to these figures, folks: (#1) “Salaries for teachers and assistant teachers are dropping by about 6 percent, but all other salaries are increasing, for an overall increase of 19 percent from $1.7 million to $2 million”; (#2) “Salaries for school administration and secretarial positions are increasing 66 percent. Ruocco said after the budget was amended last fall it did not include positions such as an office manager, a position the school will aim to fill this year”; (#3) “The line item for therapists, specialists and counselor salaries is more than quadrupling, from just $44,000 to $188,432. Ruocco said $44,000 was a low estimate last year and the school actually overspent that figure. She also said Lycée plans to add a guidance counselor this year,” and; (#4) “The line item entitled ‘other’ under salaries is increasing by 91 percent, from $122,285 to $234,000. Ruocco said this includes Foreign Associate Teacher stipend funds and all hourly employees.” Pay closer attention to this: These are “out-of-classroom” payroll/staff increases that make the classroom ratios appear smaller than what they are. One thing I must say, however, is that this LENS reporter is doing her job and has squarely put the ball (the facts) in the public’s court. Now, can the Lycee public handle what it has been thrown or does it think that everything is great?

  • edpolicy

    Schools spend more money as they grow larger. This includes spending more on support services and other administrative roles. It’s simple math, and not unusual at all. What’s the problem?

  • frenchfriend

    Smoke and Mirrors on growth.
    The school grew from 75 to over 350 between year one and two and to barely 400 in year three? hmmm, really break down those numbers. This school is losing an entire first grade that should be moving into second. They have previous Four prk 4 moving classes moving into five kindergarten classes and claimed to not have enough applications to lottery. The four tuition paying pre k classes moving up and taking kindergarten spaces and the lack of out reach for those last 25 spots, insures an upwardly mobile LFNO family and excludes all the rest. Next year they will have 80 prek 4 children with only 20 receiving LA funding. Will they do NO outreach again to keep their diversity status quo ( LFNO has tagged a new word to describe themselves and it is culturally diverse. This word does not cut it, as every family in the universe is unique, so this is just a politically correct term to hide certain facts that there are very few black children in the school)? This is sweet olive’s game to keep those that really need this school out. You can’t apply if you don’t know about the school. Sweet olive failed and they seemed be manipulating the numbers. Not only does sweet olive fail with outreach, they fail with the actual growth of the school. Last year over 200 new students, this year 50/60? Lycee also need to be very careful with those enrollment numbers because there are many on their books that are registered in two or three schools and will stay on the books as a back up school.
    Yes, they dropped two prk3 classes, but this does not excuse having so little applications in a public school to not have a kindergarten lottery. I also think it is fishy that sweet olive says over one hundred applications came in after their lottery had taken place. Parents in public school are lottery savy. This is where there is a rat. Yes, they have big waiting lists in prk4 and prk3. There is a need for affordable childcare and this fits the bill, not just becase it is French ( though an added bonus). it is safe quality affordable child care.
    I can’t wait to see if Mr. Barlett asks the sweet olive group to re-apply. It would be the best week in LFNO’s history if he did!!! So far we see a New Board, new CEO, new academic director, but Sweet Olive needs to go as well. PLEASE clean House Mr. Bartlet,, the kids deserve all of the toxic, divisive elements out of the school before it starts.

  • nickelndime

    Mo’ money! Mo’ money! The increase in budgetary expenditures are in the wrong categories. Teachers and students first – this should be where the percentages go up. Not management and administration/salaries or legal fees. That’s what’s wrong.

  • SarahE

    I’d really like to know why the secretary at Lycee had no idea what was going on in regards to the consumable fee and was allowed to give out false information. My husband had been laid off from his job just days before this fee was due and our mortgage payment was also due at this time. I called the school 3 times that day asking about an extension or payment plan. The “secretary” was quite the opposite of helpful. She told me that my child’s spot in Kindergarten would be given away to the next child on the waiting list if I didn’t pay the $250 fee by the end of the school day.

  • frenchfriend

    Report this immediately They are not allowed to do this. The lycée is not a private school.

  • Joy Van Buskirk

    SE
    I would contact the new CEO. There is no excuse for rudeness from any Lycee employee. I hope that you misunderstood, but most likely you did not. No public school can remove your child from the school roles for lack of payment of a consumable fee charged by the school. Matter of fact, the school cannot coerce you into paying that fee, as it is a public school. Most parents pay the fee as it financially assists the school in purchasing more school supplies, etc. The paid fees should go directly to classroom expenditures, and no where else. The CFO is required to keep records of where those monies are spent, and if the monies are spent other than the classroom, the parents should demand to know why.

  • nickelndime

    Wait!!! Are you telling me that Lycee is not a private school?! OMG! OMG! Do the parents know? I think the secretary got it right the first time. That CEO has bigger fish to fry than what the school secretary is telling people. Sure, go ahead and complain. Draw more attention to yourself and your hardships. That will really get your child kicked out. Gawd help the Lycee board if other parents should get wind (hear about) that somebody didn’t pay that $250 fee. And don’t ask for an installment plan! Michael – they are doing it again. Everytime I get up off that floor, it happens again.

  • nickelndime

    Yeah, that’s exactly what I am saying, Guest, that “…parents should keep quiet when the school (Lycee) is doing things that are wrong or else their kid will get kicked out.”