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New high school building to open in 2015; Craig School takeover application in the works

The Board of Directors of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School for Science and Technology met Tuesday, Sept. 13, at noon. Board members Hilda W. Young, Doris Hicks, Gail Armant, Sandra Monroe, Thelma Ruth and George Rabb were present. Two members were absent: Eartha Johnson and Kenya Rounds

Since opening in 2007 in the Lower Ninth Ward, MLK has been one of the better-performing charter schools in the Recovery School District.  The school had its share of post-Katrina difficulties, evidenced by the portable units that still house its high school classes, a situation that has limited enrollment to about half that of the school’s elementary classes.

The Board, officially known as the Friends of King School, discussed plans for construction of a new high school building, that could open to expanded enrollment by 2015. Dr. Lindsay Moore, assistant principal, updated the Board on the current state of the high school.  He reported that, after a review of transcripts, all senior class members were on track to graduate, and that the college application process was underway.

Doris Hicks, the school’s CEO and principal, reported on MLK’s application to take over the charter of Joseph A. Craig Elementary School in the Treme neighborhood. Hicks said all documents have been submitted.   An interview pursuant to the application is scheduled for November.

Hicks then heard board member recommendations for the Friends of King School Foundation currently being created.  Suggestions centered around contacting  fundraisers able to attract donors nationwide.

Also discussed was the school’s new parental involvement policy.  The policy proposes flexible hours for parent meetings, as well as the creation of a Parent Advisory Council.  Members expressed concern about efforts by the Recovery School District to centralize the charter school enrollment process. The Board expressed opposition to such a move if it requires parents to list several top choices and be assigned one by the district. This would not adequately serve families in the Lower Ninth Ward, because there are fewer options in the neighborhood.

Board President Hilda Young discussed plans for the graduation ceremony, which the school intends to hold at Dillard University.

In discussion of a scheduled visit to MLK by the non-profit Orleans Public Education Network,  the MLK board’s attorney, Tracie Washington, an OPEN founding member, encouraged members to ask questions and provide input on ways OPEN could help area schools.

The meeting ended at 1:10 p.m. The next meeting, on Oct. 11, will review the school’s audit and financial statements, among other agenda items.

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