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Encore Academy plans for about 100 new students in 2013-14 budget

Encore Academy officials laid out the Uptown elementary school’s 2013-2014 budget at a state-mandated hearing Tuesday night. The $2.9 million spending plan makes room for growth in enrollment of about 110 students, according to school leader Terri Smith.

The 315 students planned for in the budget is a marked increase over last year’s budgeted enrollment of 205 students at the year-old school, which focuses on music and arts education along with a standard academic curriculum.

Smith said the growth can be attributed to students advancing in grade level, as a fourth grade and sixth grade class will be added for the first time at the school, which is housed in the same building as Crocker College Prep, 2301 Marengo St.

The addition of a third kindergarten class also will add to the increased enrollment, Smith said.

The continued growth is expected to necessitate a new location for the school. However, any potential move would not happen until the 2014-15 school year, Smith said.

The increase in student population led to an increase in budgeted transportation costs of about $95,500, for a total of $247,373, according to budget documents.

“It’s a major expense,” said presenter Joseph Neary, a former board member who works as chief operating officer of Firstline Schools.

Next year, Encore will be part of a new transportation plan that originated with a contract between Firstline Schools and Apple Transportation. The Orleans Parish School Board charter has a shared-services agreement that allows them to be among the 14 schools participating in the pooled bus route.

For Encore, that means two designated buses will cover eastern New Orleans and the  West Bank, and four more buses will be shared with other schools. The four shared buses will be focused on specific neighborhoods, such as Uptown, Lakeview or Marigny-Bywater. Since Encore starts later than the other schools, the buses will run a route for Encore after the others.

The partnership was designed to create shorter rides for children, and the cost for busing is the same as last year, Smith said.

“We can have six routes as opposed to three or four,” she said.

No members of the public attended the hearing, but four people attended who plan to apply to be members of the Encore Board of Directors. The board is expected to vote on final approval on  the budget at its next regular meeting, scheduled for July 23 at  6:30 p.m. in the Crocker College Prep cafeteria.

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  • nickelndime

    It’s not growth that will necessitate ENCORE’s future move. The RSD will kick ENCORE out of the building it co-occupies now, and it has been told that in advance. Stop listening to what these people are saying in board meetings and start reporting between the lines. Also, for the record, I think it’s a damn shame that ENCORE was allowed to open without a 4th grade (LEAP testing). What was ENCORE’s fear? That it could not adequately educate students in one year and prepare them for LEAP testing? This is no way for an open-admissions public charter school to operate. It sends the wrong message. Too many charter schools are already looking for ways to outsmart the system and/or exclude groups of students. In the ENCORE instance, this was an entire grade (4th grade) in its first year of operation.