Lake Forest Elementary Charter will have to wait while the Orleans Parish School Board re-bids the construction of the school’s future home in eastern New Orleans. The new building, based on the design of Hynes Elementary in Lakeview, has a $29 million budget, but that would likely have to increase under current bid projections.
Principal and CEO of the organization, Mardele S. Early, expressed her concern that this would push back opening in the new facility until 2016. She reminded the board that, every day the school remains in its current location on Hayne Boulevard, the organization would be sinking more money into “band-aiding” its temporary building.
Ken Ducote, a consultant that Early called the school’s “facilities guru,” updated Lake Forest’s board on the details of OPSB’s decision at its meeting Wednesday.
“They are rebidding the project,” Ducote said. “The bids are supposed to come in in March. They are not re-designing the school.”
Early was quick to point out that they had been told bids would be due in December when she and other officials were first told of the decision.
Ducote said that some area schools had been re-bid, only to come back with the same bids. He assured the board that the project had already been budgeted, and would be going forward.
“I anticipate that, when the bids come in, they’re going to say, ‘It is what it is,’” he said.
Early spoke to the board about the recent controversy around the new federal education standards. She distributed a handout from a number of area organizations supporting Common Core standards.
“I know you’ve been hearing in the news about Common Core State Standards. For some reason, it has become a political target for lawmakers and politicians,” said Early.
Early was careful to distinguish the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career exam, which she said may have some issues, from the new Common Core materials being taught around the country. She told members that, in her opinion, parents no longer have jobs that are secure for 30 years, and national standards would help kids be able to relocate anywhere in the country and still receive the same education.
She said the PARCC exam did require more writing and analyzing texts with higher-order thinking stills, which the school has embraced. She said that until the issue had been seized by politicians, even Gov. Bobby Jindal had supported the new standards.
Lake Forest’s director of development, Joshua Fertitta, told the board that this month’s Cocktails and Blues fund-raising event with Irma Thomas had been a success. While not ready to release exact figures just days after the event, he estimated that more than 200 people attended. The school will hold another informal get-together for potential supporters at the Rusty Nail on Nov. 14, 5-8 p.m., which is open to the public.
Also present were members Gina Dupart, Denise Williams and Brian K. Richburg Sr. Absent were Donald Pate and Windi Brown. The meeting, which began at 1:47 p.m., concluded at 3:04 p.m.