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Karr, Harte schools have more students than they predicted

InspireNOLA’s Alice M. Harte Charter School and Edna Karr High School have more students than projected and are looking at where to spend the increases in funds that  likely will follow.

At the InspireNOLA board’s Monday meeting, Karr principal John Hiser said Karr has 1,054 students enrolled and Harte has 702 students enrolled. Karr was expected to have 974 students and Harte was projected to have 675 students. As a result, the two schools are anticipating increased budgets due to per-pupil funding from the state.

The two principals now expect Karr to have a $924,280 budget surplus and Harte to have a $402,114 surplus for the 2013-2014 school year.

The 2013-2014 enrollment figures are not final until Oct. 1, however, which means all budgetary numbers are still tentative.

The board approved a five percent salary increase for all staff and faculty at Karr and a three percent salary increase for staff and faculty at Harte for the 2013-2014 school year. Employees will receive retroactive payments for the weeks they have already worked, Hiser said.

The two percent discrepancy between the two schools is because Harte employees will move into a new building in the next year, Harte principal Jamar McKneely said, and the new utility costs are not yet known. Harte employees will instead see the extra two percent through bonuses.

Karr’s increased salaries will cost the school an additional $206,000 to $217,000, or about 20 percent of its projected budget surplus, said InspireNOLA Vice President Shawn Rogers.

These pay raises will bring Karr and Harte teachers more in line with the average pay scale for similarly qualified teachers in comparable local charter and public schools, Rogers and board president Wayne Crochet said.

These salary increases are in addition to the two percent pay raises that were already part of the board’s 2013-2014 budget.

Board members also approved two other amendments to the 2013-2014 budget: $11,800 for roofing repairs at Karr and $15,000 for training with the School Leadership Center. The training is for administrators to better understand the daily academic experience of students and to improve professional development strategies.

Additionally, Crochet asked the board members to consider adding one or two additional members. He stressed the importance of keeping enough educators on the board because of their knowledge about the complexity of running a school.

“Schools are not just education,” he said. “Schools are education and transportation and finance and all of those things that go to make up a city almost. I would feel better with another educator on the board.”

The next InspireNOLA board meeting will be Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Alice M. Harte Charter School.

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