Faced with a new $1,500-a-month expense or the prospect of fewer students enrolling, the board that oversees Lycee Francais charter school opted to hire a marketing company to raise awareness of the new school.

Black Olive Marketing will now handle the campaign for the board of Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle Orleans. Black Olive had been doing the work for Lycée Français School pro bono. The board discussed how this contract would affect the budget but decided that it will be better to hire the company than not have students.

The six board members present initially approved the contract five to one, but then Chariman Andrew Abrams asked for the board to reconsider and vote unanimously. Board member Allen Kelly, who voted against the contract, changed his vote to yes.

Ironically, the board didn’t take final action on the item that led it to hold a special meeting in the first place. The meeting was held at the behest of the state Department of Education, which said the school was out of compliance by not having a contract with a food-service provider.

The board first scheduled tonight’s meeting, but was told last week by the state that it needed to meet sooner. So the board then scheduled a meeting for Thursday. However, it failed to provide the legally required 24-hour public-meeting notice to the news outlets that requested it, including The Lens.

After The Lens raised objections with the board chairman and the state Department of Education, the Thursday meeting was canceled, and the initial date was restored.

Abrams explained that there was a lot of misinformation concerning the meeting but the board is in full compliance. He said five different food-provider options can be discussed. Abrams asked the board to delay the discussion and the vote, and members obliged.

The board met at the First Presbyterian Church, with board members Mignhon Tourne and Kenneth Charity absent. Four people were in the audience including a videographer and a Lens reporter.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Nov. 14.