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State formula may provide more money to school

Lusher Charter School expects to get more money than anticipated under the state’s Minimum Foundation Program this year, school CEO Kathy Riedlinger told the board of directors at a meeting Saturday.

Riedlinger said that the exact amount owed to schools was yet to be determined but that she expected a minimum of $200 per student. She said the additional money was due to an accounting error by the Orleans Parish School Board.

The meeting agenda also contained updates on funding, facilities, instructional programming and curriculum.

With upcoming refurbishment projects planned for both of Lusher’s campuses, Riedlinger said the construction will, for the most part, happen simultaneously.

Further discussion of facilities by the board centered on the school’s lack of an auditorium.  Board members lamented that Lusher is one of the only high schools without an auditorium.

“If McMain gets a new gym, we should get a new auditorium,” one board member said, referring to nearby Eleanor McMain Secondary School.

Lusher High School Principal Wiley Ates said that the needs had been reiterated to the OPSB.

Ates said that it makes no sense for a school with a performance arts-based curriculum to be without an auditorium.

Addressing curriculum, the board suggested passing a resolution urging Gov. Bobby Jindal to support implementing the Common Core national standards.

Riedlinger said it was extremely important to distinguish standards from curriculum.  They are two separate things, and there’s a big public perception problem in making the distinction, she said.

“Nobody is telling us what to teach,” Riedlinger said, in reference to the material used to teach the skills required by Common Core.

The new national standards make a lot of sense in raising the bar on what students need to know how to do, she said. The standards require kids to not only know “who, what, where and when, but also how they know it and why is that the case.”

The board also discussed what the changes in testing related to the Common Core standards will mean for the school, and that increased computer literacy and access will likely be needed.

For example, Lusher Lower School Principal Sheila Nelson said that while third-graders might know how to use computers for certain activities, the school may need to teach keyboarding in earlier grades if those third-graders are expected to type a composition for the test.

If third-graders are required to have keyboarding skills, “It is a big change for us,” Nelson said.

The Lusher board will meet again Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. at 5624 Freret St.

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