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Lusher holds budget and enrollment projection steady, as board reviews year ahead

The board of directors of Advocates for Arts Based Education Corporation, the charter management organization that runs Lusher, began at 10 a.m. Sept. 10 and lasted for an hour in room 207. Topics  included  the school’s budget, the re-election of current board members and officers and funding updates.

Present were board members Blaine LeCesne, Rachel Wisdom, Carol Whelan, Kiki Houston and Ann Salzer. Also present were Assistant Head of School Patty Glazer, Middle School Principal Brenda Borne, Elementary School Principal Shelia Nelson, High School Principal Wiley Ates, Chief Financial Officer Lynden Swayze, and Chief Executive Officer Kathy Riedlinger.  Three people were in the audience.

The 2011-12 budget anticipated 1,731 students at a per-student cost under the state’s Minimum Foundation Plan of about $8,000, which Swayze said was the same as last year.

“It’s amazing to me that we can take something that takes weeks and weeks of work and we capture it down on three pages,” Swayze said of the budget.

Overall, there were not many major changes. The Teacher’s Requirement Program fund now requires an employer contribution of 23.7 percent, up from last year’s 20.2 percent. Swayze said the increase will cost the school about $300,000, adding to a combined increase of $550,000 for the previous two years.

Medical insurance also rose, by 5.5 percent, according to Swayze.

And this year Lusher will enroll  three children with special needs. The state will provide funding for two aids, leaving the school to fund the third.

“If you have a child with special needs, you need to meet those needs. The conflict is who pays,” Rieldlinger said. “The issue is not if the children get served.”

Following the budget presentation, the board re-elected its officers.

Finally, the meeting moved to a report on annual giving from Patty Glazer.

“We reached our $100,000 goal,” Glazer said. “If your child attends Lusher, annual giving will touch their lives in some way.”

She said the school also received $72,000 from Title 2 and $432,000 from the Gulf Coast Grant, which will be used primarily for salaries and professional development.

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