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Algiers Charter School Association considers takeover of Milestone Sabis

Unhappy with its current operator, the board of directors at Milestone Sabis Academy of New Orleans is looking to join another charter organization next school year, according to Algiers Charter Schools Association CEO Adrian Morgan.

He said ACSA has strongly considered taking over leadership from Sabis, the current Lebanon-based charter operator.

Milestone Sabis, a kindergarten through 10th grade school, is currently located in Jefferson Parish. As a Type 2 charter it could enroll students or move to any parish in Louisiana.

Morgan said he would not move the school outside Orleans or Jefferson Parish, including the Algiers area. Milestone Sabis has a one-year lease on its current facility on 2012 Jefferson Hwy.

The board voted to allow Morgan to negotiate with Milestone to operate the school in the fall, but stopped short of allowing negotiations for a full management takeover. Morgan said the organization has the full support of the Recovery School District.

It is unclear if the Milestone board would remain in place, or if the ACSA board would assume full responsibility for the new school. Morgan said he hopes to have an agreement with Milestone in place by the next board meeting on June 26.

Board member Nicole Sheppard voted against moving forward with negotiations to run Milestone Sabis, saying she wasn’t sure it was the best use of her organization’s time and resources.

Board member D’Juan Hernandez abstained from the vote because his law firm, The Higgins Law Firm, currently represents Milestone.

Louisiana currently rates Milestone as a D school. It has three years left in its charter contract. Morgan said its current budget shows that it has $500,000 in reserves, although its financial liabilities are unknown.

Morgan also announced that the state renewed the charters for three Algiers Charter School Association schools. The charters for McDonogh 32 Literacy Charter School and William J. Fischer Accelerated Academy were extended five years. L.B. Landry-O.P Walker College and Career Preparatory High School received a 10-year extension, the maximum.

“I want to thank the board for believing in our children enough to unify, and thank you for believing enough in me, trusting me enough to go forward with something that has proven to be a turning point in my career,” said Landry-Walker principal Mary Laurie.*

 Hernandez said the Orleans Parish School District has signed a letter of intent with the owner of the Opelousas Avenue site where ACSA plans to build a new Martin Behrman Charter School Academy of Creative Arts and Sciences.

The board also voted to approve the upcoming school year’s academic, school support center and board of trustees calendars.

*Correction: This story originally reported that Mary Laurie is principal at Berhman, but she’s at Landry-Walker. (June 4, 2014)

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  • nickelndime

    ACSA CONSIDERS TAKEOVER OF MILESTONE SABIS: Milestone SABIS hasn’t been able to get its academic or financial act together – ever! – even after it was salvaged as a former loop-de-loop charter in eastern New Orleans and was “morphed” (re-named, re-started, and made over – now it will be a “tookover”) into its current existence, thanks to former BESE members Leslie Jacobs and Paul G. Pastorek (also former LA Superintendent of Education, who introduced “John White” d/b/a “Education, Louisiana Style, Inc.” ). Actually, if you look at Milestone SABIS’ record, its charter should have been pulled by the State/BESE years ago. But old habits die hard, I guess. Looking at the graft and corruption, one should have predicted a takeover – so, why not now and why not by ACSA? ACSA loves to pay and play with the politically-connected Adams and Reese LLP (Pastorek’s former law firm) and charter operator of another charter school on the Westbank (NOMMA – New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy). And just for the record, Milestone SABIS moved to Gretna, but for years it lea$ed the school facility on Patton Street (from St. Francis of Assisi Parish), where Lycee’ is currently housed. Also, if the ACSA is considering a takeover, can New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) be far behind with at least a million in grant money from the USDOE?!

  • nickelndime

    LANDRY WALKER: Last year, the Westbank “community,” CEO Mary Laurie and her staff at O. Perry Walker were mobilized and at war with BESE about moving the high school to the multi-million dollar, new Landry State-of-the-Art School site. Mary even tried to get the OPSB to make a move on the State and asked to go back under local control. (I am getting ready to fall out of the chair…rolling…rolling) But that was not to be. For one thing, that would have meant that the OPSB would have had to take a stand and go toe-to-toe with BESE/State/RSD/et al. – you know – grow a backbone (plus, have you ever really listened to what acting-superintendent Stan Smith says when he tries to explain academics?). Now, Mary is thanking the ACSA Board for unifying and believing in her. It’s funny how money (6-figure salary for running the “unified” campus) clouds one’s mind, judgment, and memory. It’s really hard to believe in Mary when she speaks out of both sides of her mouth. But, not to worry, the State/BESE/et al. and the ACSA and its attorneys understand Mary, and that’s what’s really important.