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Two Algiers schools see enrollment above projections

The board of InspireNOLA approved a $15.2 million budget for the 2013-2014 academic year, allocating $6.3 million for Alice M. Harte Charter School and $8.9 million for Edna Karr High School during the charter organization’s first year managing the schools under Orleans Parish School Board oversight.

The schools expect surpluses, with Karr seeing two percent of its budget, or $206,000, left at the end of the year and Harte with 2.7 percent, or a $170,200 surplus.

Karr’s budget based revenue on enrollment of 974, bringing in $4.1 million in per-pupil funds—roughly 46 percent of anticipated income. Harte expected 675 students this year, securing $2.8 million in per-pupil funding.

However, school leaders announced recently that enrollment has already exceeded those marks, with Harte enrolling 715 students and Karr with 1,048. Harte principal Jamar McKneely said those numbers do not include attrition rates and will most likely involve approval of a budget revision in the future since the increase in per-pupil revenue will increase the budget surplus by more than five percent.

McKneely said additional students hoping to get into the schools are placed on a waiting list.

Harte allocated 11 percent of its budget for special education programs including summer school expenses, salaries for special education teachers, and gifted and talented programs. Karr expects to spend less than half of that—5.2 percent of their budget on special education programs.

“We based the special education numbers on historical costs.  Both enrollments are the same as last year and we expect special education to hold steady,” said Algiers Charter Schools Association Chief Financial Officer Charlie Mackles.

He noted that special education made up less than 10 percent of each school’s population last year. ACSA, which oversaw Harte and Karr under the Recovery School District, and InspireNOLA will share human resources and finance departments during this year of transition.

Operations directors for both schools presented their recommendations from local vendors who submitted bids for maintenance, food service, and landscaping services. Such services are typically provided as shared services by the Recovery School District, making this the first year these schools have put the contracts out to bid. Harold Clay, operations manager at Edna Karr, said they plan to see a savings of about $38,000 by fielding their own contracts this year.

This story originally incorrectly reported that the board had approved a $1.5 billion budget.

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