After a year of tough financial news, KIPP New Orleans Schools announced at a board meeting Thursday night that they’ve tripled their expected surplus for the current fiscal year, building it from $563,420 to $1.7 million.
The charter management group’s five-person finance department saw a 100 percent turnover last year before the board hired Renee Montegut, formerly of the Algiers Charter Schools Association, to turn the numbers around. The staff and board have worked to avoid a fiscal cliff as their schools matured and one-time grants awarded in the charter’s start-up phase began to expire.
“Our business isn’t to raise a surplus, it’s to create a cash flow than can handle the unexpected,” treasurer Stephen Rosenthal said.
The increased revenues came from higher than expected local tax funding, additional per-pupil funding for an additional 54 special-education students, unexpected federal funding and a one-time payment of $680,000 from the Orleans Parish School Board, Rosenthal said. The OPSB payment covered deferred revenues from 2010 to 2013. Enrollment has also been higher than expected, bringing in an additional $100,000 a month in per-pupil funding.
KIPP’s auditors still found some room for improvement however. The annual audit cited a action to control budgeting, payroll, travel, credit card transaction approval, cash collections and maintenance of the student activity fund. Rosenthal said all areas of concern have been addressed. Proper policies will be in place throughout the spring and all new policies fully implemented by June.
Jonathan Bertsch, KIPP’s director of advocacy, said all of KIPP’s schools should be in their permanent facilities by 2016, including new elementary and middle schools in Eastern New Orleans and Hollygrove.
KIPP McDonogh 15 Primary and Middle will move to the Morial campus on 7701 Grant St. in eastern New Orleans, where one third of KIPP families reside. KIPP will open an additional school in Eastern New Orleans, KIPP East Community Primary at 6519 Virgilian St.
KIPP Believe Primary and College Prep will move to a building near the former Paul L. Dunbar Elementary site in Hollygrove.