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Lycée Français will not expand grades

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orleans will not be expanding to eighth and ninth grades next year, board officials announced at a meeting Monday night.

The facilities committee recommended that the board vote to amend the school’s charter to remove eighth grade expansion for years 2014-15 and years 2015-16. The committee also recommended removing ninth grade expansion from the 2014-15 year and leaving ninth grade expansion in the 2015-16 year, according to a document handed out during the meeting.

The board agreed to these recommendations and voted for those changes in the charter at Monday’s three-hour meeting.

“There is an insufficient current budget to add two new grades,” a report from the facilities committee read.

The school has pre-K, kindergarten and first, second and third grades, and it wanted  to add eighth and ninth grades without first adding fourth through seventh grades.

The committee predicted that the two grades would need four instructors to teach a total of six to nine subjects. Given the number of teachers needed, the school wouldn’t be able to afford it, board member Mary Jacobs Jones said.

The prediction was based on the scale of an average five-year teacher, she added. A chart handed out during the meeting shows that by then French teachers would average between $48,000 and nearly $55,000 a year, and English as a second language  teachers would cost more than $60,000.

By then, the estimated cost per class would be up to $115,641, a financial report showed.

The committee estimated that the school would be getting $8,800 a student in per-pupil funds by the 2014-15 school year.

Jones also said that research indicated there is not a viable population of French-literate students across greater Southeastern Louisiana to support the opening of two upper grades at Lycee Francais.

A viable quantity would be two sections of approximately 20 students each, she added.

The news came after an announcement about changes to the structure of kindergarten enrollment. Enrollment will now have to include more “at-risk,” or economically disadvantaged, students, the board said.

Also at that meeting, Lycee Francais board members voted to limit the school’s pre-K program for four-year-olds to just students from economically disadvantaged families and siblings of current students in 2014-15

 

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  • nickelndime

    I will say one thing – at least the board is looking at “amending” its charter when changes are sought to be enacted. Does anyone realize (including the media) how many changes are made to charters without these nonprofit boards going through the proper procedures? Nonprofit charter boards are responsible for millions of dollars in public money and students’ academic careers, and they should be held to the highest standards, not just posting agendas and making changes at board meetings that everyone appears to accept as their divine right. Other than a few select schools, such as Lycee, the public (including parents) rarely attend/s board meetings and nobody (including school personnel and staff) knows what board members and administrators are saying publicly (lose a grade, add a grade, lose a lottery, conduct a lottery, set at-risk parameters, finances…).

  • Joy Van Buskirk

    Kudos to the board. Adding upper grades during the school’s 4th year was undoable. However, the school’s founders pushed to add the upper grades early on within the charter grade configuration – a disagreement ensued – and the founders got their way. There simply aren’t sufficient funds to launch that kind of program in the school’s 4th year. A grade should be added annually building a firm foundation upward. The French Bac places stringent requirements for the teaching of three languages, science labs are required, and on and on. Space is now at a premium in New Orleans. I commend the board for amending the charter, and voting on the issue. If only the former board had utilized the amendment process and voted on all policy issues, perhaps one LFNO crisis after another would have been averted. Charter amendments are required along with a board vote, and submission to BESE for its approval. That is the process like it or not. It is policy.