Despite recent concerns over a potential budget shortfall, Crescent Leadership Academy is on track to end the year in the black, according to Chief Financial Officer C.J. Bower.
Bower delivered a financial report by phone at the Crescent Leadership Academy board meeting on March 19. She said an influx of per-pupil expulsion funding from the past two years will help close the budget gap.
The potential shortfall was first publicly discussed at the board’s Feb. 19 meeting, when Bower reported there would be a $220,000 deficit for the current year. She cited increased education costs for students with severe behavior problems who enrolled in Crescent Leadership Academy after being expelled from traditional schools. (See Crescent Leadership Academy’s Feb. 14 Balance Sheet and Feb. 14 Income Statement.)
Under an original agreement with the Recovery School District, Crescent Leadership Academy received $44 per day for students who were expelled from other campuses. That funding was based on a formula that estimated schools needed a minimum of $8,000 per student to provide an adequate educational foundation for students.
Bower had requested additional resources to accommodate students at Crescent Leadership Academy, including behavior mentoring, security personnel and reduced class sizes. The Recovery School District responded by adjusting the per-pupil expulsion funding from $44 to $80 per day.
Bower told the Lens that even with the adjustment, the school would still be short for the year. She said the gap remained because the school did not receive per-pupil funds for the more than 80 expulsion students who enrolled at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year.
Bower said she hopes Crescent Leadership Academy can close the gap if the school continues to receive the $80 per day fee for students who enroll after the district’s February 1st enrollment count day.
“This is the same trend we had last year,” Bower said at the meeting. “We do take in a great deal of our money toward the end of the year when we take in the expulsion kids who come in after count day.”
According to Bower, the Recovery School District will give the school an additional $113,000 in per-pupil revenue from the state. This money, combined with cost-savings in the areas of payroll, benefits, teaching stipends, recruitment and direct student services will mitigate the deficit, according to Bower.
“Bottom line is we made $63,000 this month, which turned our entire year around,” Bower said at the meeting. “We went from a from a loss of $32,000 to a gain of $31,000 year to date as of February.”
Bower said a few outstanding financial concerns remained, including potential costs for repairing a water main and relocating the school’s modular trailers.
“We’ll have to see how those things play out, but I’m optimistic,” said Bower.
In her executive report to the board, Education Director Tracy Bennett-Joseph said the school received a grant from Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, an organization run through the U.S. Department Of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs.
“It is still unclear if this is going to be just resources and training and support in setting up a PBIS plan or if there is also going to be a monetary component to this,” said Bennett-Joseph.
Bennett-Joseph said she would have that information by the end of the week and would share it with the board.
The board is currently looking for an eighth member to help with development and fundraising.
Board members Helen Berrigan, Jim Letten, Sean Trimber, Maurice Lightfoot and Thomas Maginnis attended the meeting. Kevin Maney and Susan Hutson joined by phone. The meeting was called to order at 4:33 p.m. and adjourned at 5:06 p.m..
The board held a 15-minute executive session following the public meeting. Board president Berrigan declined to disclose the subject of the meeting but said the topic would appear on the board meeting agenda for next month.
The next board meeting will be held Wednesday, April 16 at 4:30 at 4700 Almonaster Street.