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International High School to get more money from state

The VIBE board, which oversees International High School of New Orleans, learned last week that the school is set to receive $234,000 in additional funds from the state. The money is left over from the money-per-pupil allotment from last year and wasn’t included in last year’s budget.

At a board meeting Aug. 21, members voted to put that money into two separate funds. $34,000 will be placed into the school’s designated emergency fund, which board members voted at the meeting to increase from $25,000 to $50,000.

The remaining $200,000 will be put into a new fund that will be used either as an additional emergency fund or as a source for special financial needs, such as a down payment on a new school building, board members decided.

The need for increased emergency funds was obvious at the meeting, when board members were alerted to a termite infestation found in the library’s computer lab during the first week of school. Head of School Anthony Amato said he’s hoping the Recovery School District will pay for the repairs.

Board members also were told that the school needs to hire another part-time social worker, given that 20 more students enrolled than were expected. The school also needs to provide an additional bus for students who live in eastern New Orleans.

However, according to finance committee chair Harry Blumenthal, International High School is still $25,960 under budget as of the start of the 2013-14 school year.

In student achievement, the academic committee reports showed that in end-of-year tests, students are doing well in English, but can use improvement in algebra and history, which show less than half of INS students in the “excellent” category for each.

Overall, INS student scores are still largely in line with state and local averages, the board was told. However, AP placement and ACT scores need improvement. Average ACT scores for the IHS class of 2013 was 19.3, slightly lower than the state and national average.

The class of 2014, at its first test date, had an average score of 18.

The ACT scores determine state TOPS scholarships for students who attend in-state schools. Thanks to a grant, INS will have a teacher from The Princeton Review, a test prep organization, come to the school to prepare students for the test.

In other board business, the search for a board liaison is ongoing, and nine applicants have been interviewed. Amato said the board will interview the top three candidates.

Amato also presented the board with the first “student dashboard” packet, which breaks down student data in great detail by demographics and achievement. Amato will present these dashboards monthly.

As of the beginning of the school year, there are 463 students enrolled in grades 9-12.

The next board meeting will be Sept. 18 at 6 p.m.

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