Charter Schools Related schools coverage »
 

ISL wants to lease nearby land

The International School of Louisiana is looking to expand again.

Starting Monday, the campus at 1400 Camp St. will once again house ISL’s fourth- and fifth-grade students. They will no longer have to ride buses to temporary classrooms at the 502 Olivier St. campus in Algiers. The Camp Street campus will begin occupying its modular buildings following approval from the fire marshal.

At the board’s Wednesday meeting, head of school Sean Wilson announced that the Camp Street campus is looking to expand by leasing nearby play space at the corner of Terpsichore and Camp streets. He presented a tentative lease to the board in order to get its approval to continue working toward acquiring the land, preparing the space, getting the proper permits and discussing the project with nearby homeowners.

The lease included a three-year agreement with J.T. Curtis to lease land at 1376 Camp St., the former site of the Coliseum Place Baptist Church. The school would pay about $1,000 per month to lease the plot of green grass that would be used purely for recreational space. This would include soccer, flag football and other activities that are not appropriate for the school’s primarily asphalt play spaces.

This lease is a modified version of a draft from 2010, when the school first explored possibly leasing the additional green space for a five-year period. It was deemed unnecessary at the time, Wilson said, but is now more urgent after the school has continued to grow.

Though the lease presented at Wednesday’s meeting stated a three-year agreement, Wilson said he still intends for it to cover a five-year period.

The lease included an agreement for Curtis to request use of the land throughout the year as long as it would not interfere with the school’s operations.

Board members discussed applying for a city permit to regularly use Coliseum Square Park across the street. Students already make limited use of the park, Wilson said, but interferences such as dogs make it difficult for certain activities. He said he has not ruled out this option.

Jan Ferrell, vice president of the Coliseum Square Association, said the plan to lease Curtis’ property is another example of the school’s “good neighbor policy they don’t have.”

In a public comment, she said the lease has flaws, including no mention of development costs, no requirement that Curtis renew the lease after the first three- or five-year term, no restriction on the number of times Curtis can request to use the land and no mention of meeting Historic District Landmarks Commission requirements.

The board voted unanimously in favor of Wilson continuing to pursue leasing the space. The lease is still only in draft form.

In Wilson’s report to the board, he also reported that he is continuing to push back against the school’s participation with the OneApp program. The program would create extra work for the school, cause confusion for families not living in Orleans Parish and leave the school “in a vulnerable position,” Wilson said.

OneApp is aimed to streamline the charter school application process for parents. However, the International School of Louisiana is Type 2 charter school — along with others such as New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy, Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle Orleans and International High School of Louisiana — which means it is open to all students in Louisiana. Families living in Orleans Parish could make use of the OneApp program, but the International School of Louisiana would have the responsibility of educating parents living elsewhere about the new system.

Wilson also said OneApp would shorten the application period, forcing the school to process more applications and assess more students in a shorter amount of time.

Children at the school’s Bunche campus at 8101 Simon St. in Metairie may have a new playground by the end of the year if the school’s application for a KaBOOM! grant is successful. The school has participated in conference calls and site visits with the program’s representatives in its bid for a new playground that would be usable starting March 2014.

The next board meeting will be  6 p.m. Oct. 23, at 1400 Camp St.

Help us report this story     Report an error    
The Lens' donors and partners may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover.