Warren Easton will have nine students participating in the Grow Dat Youth Farm next year, the school’s board of directors president David Garland announced Wednesday night.
The school has participated in the program before. Two years ago, the board funded six students to participate in the farm, which is conducted in the middle of City Park and houses tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables.
“For urban kids, it’s an amazing thing for them,” Garland said about the program.
This year, the board said it didn’t have the funds to send students to participate in the farm, so it opted out. But students “obviously got funding from another source than the school,” Garland added, since so many Warren Easton kids were recruited for the program.
Now, the farm is asking for the board to subsidize the nine Warren Easton students, for a cost of close to $5,000.
“From a foundation point of view, we don’t have the money to do this,” Garland said about paying for the program. “At this point, it’s not something that was part of our budget as far as the school is concerned for an enrichment program.”
But Garland asked the board if it would consider subsidizing the students through another fund that the school can tap into – the People’s Choice Awards monies.
Those restricted funds, set aside for enrichment programs, have a three-year budget, but the school has received additional funding for some of the programs that the People’s Choice Award budget had already accounted for.
“There’s some wiggle room in that budget right now,” Garland said. “That’s where we would be looking at it.”
Board member Brenda Christiansen said she would be interested in subsidizing the Warren Easton students using that funding, but she had a few questions about how the process would work.
“What do we have to do to pull that money out? Do we have to vote?” Christiansen asked. “Do we have to notify the funders?”
Garland said yes, to both questions, and added that the foundation would have to revise the three-year budget and coming up with replacement ideas for the programs that have already been funded through outside means.
Garland also said that the school didn’t have to subsidize the whole amount.
“They indicated that anything is better than nothing,” Garland said about the farm’s officials who were looking for subsidies for the program.
Board members agreed to think about the subsidy and talk more about it during the next board meeting.
Garland also said that the foundation didn’t have a formality procedure for using restricted funds, but that he was working on it.
Another program, with the Louisiana Lodging Association, fell through for Warren Easton because of insurance complications.
The plan would have improved the interior appearance of one of the classrooms, where students would work alongside designers and construction specialists to develop room plans.
“There were some liabilities with getting involved here,” Garland said, adding that the school “will work on it.”
In his president’s report, Garland also said that Warren Easton is working on the sustainability of the health clinic housed at the school.
The school has been in contact with two groups for potential partnering opportunities with the clinic, Garland added: Access Health Louisiana and Daughters of Charity Services of New Orleans.
“Although it’s free for the students, it’s not free,” Garland said, adding that the school was at the “right time and place” to work on the clinic’s sustainability.
Lastly, Warren Easton board member Billy Hatchett announced that the school is looking for a lot of memorabilia, or “eye candy,” to be put around the school in time for its 2013 Open House and for Founder’s Day.
Board members are looking for any submissions from the public and alumni.
The school will celebrate Founder’s Day on Sept. 16. The event will be for the general public as well as Easton people, Hatchett said.
Board members brought some examples of the items they’re looking for, such as graduation programs and old photographs from as far back as 1939, to the meeting.
“Come see Warren Easton, come see the miracle on Canal Street,” Hatchett said.
Aside from Garland, Christiansen and Hatchett, board members Bobby Delle, David Bennelli, Charley Petrey and John Broussard were present. Ex officio member Sal Genovese was present. Principal Alexina Medley was also present, along with Assistant Principal Joseph Gilyot, Financial Officer Mike Greer and Ken Ducote, a facilities consultant.