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Sophie Wright charter gets ready for its new location

Sophie B. Wright Charter School’s board of directors approved a $5.2 million budget during a quick meeting Thursday night at the school’s new location.

The school’s 2013-2014 operating budget increased by $306,861, about six percent. That budget is based on an estimated enrollment of 500 students.

Wright recently relocated from its campus on Napoleon Avenue to James Weldon Johnson Elementary School in West Carrollton. The school  likely will remain there for two years while the old buildling undergoes extensive renovation, something school director Sharon Clark said is expected to take about 18 months.

The move left leaders scrambling to find facilities for basketball, football and other sports. Just when they thought they’d found a space for the football team, Harrell Stadium, Clark said they were surprised to learn the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission is asking for $3,000 to use the space.

Board members also expressed confusion, noting the field was a public park. Clark said that the space was free for the public to use, but if an organized team or a school wants to use the space, they have to apply for a permit.

The board decided to have one member contact NORDC in hopes of waiving the fee.

Clark said the school is going to seek out the Lyons Center for basketball practice and hopefully for home games as well.

She told board members Thursday that while they may initially see progress on the building, once the old building is cleared out it will have to be evaluated and put out for bid. The bidding process will delay the start of construction until the beginning of 2014.

Clark said when Wright staff arrived to move belongings into Johnson there were many items left behind by the former school, including refrigerators full of food.

The board meeting lasted approximately half an hour. Members James Watson, Carlese Brumfield, Reginald Delecia and Terry Hunter were present.

The board held a short public hearing prior to approving the school’s $5.2 million budget. A reporter from The Lens was the only member of the public present at the hearing which lasted less than five minutes.

Clark said teachers will return Aug. 12 and students will come back full-time beginning Aug. 22.

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