Charter Schools

Fund-raiser joins staff; enrollment growing

A few months into their first year running a new school, board members of Harriet Tubman Charter continue searching for money to finance it.

Crescent City Schools hired a staff member focused solely on fund-raising, and she wants board members to bring two names of potential donors each month.

“We’re hoping to have 14 new prospect names per month that we can start to follow up on,” Development Director Alison Mehr said.

The board of Crescent City Schools met Nov. 16. Photo by Alex Belser

She wants board members to donate something to the school every March, and she plans to submit at least three proposals to foundations each month for grant money.

“I’m really thrilled to be here and really excited to be part of the beginning of this,” Mehr said.

Board members met for about an hour Nov. 16. All board members except Julius Kimbrough attended; board member Aimee Davis listened in by telephone.

The school continues to accommodate new students, the board heard in a report from Chief Executive Officer Kate Mehok.

“We will take another kid as long as we have spaces,” she said, adding that a student had just signed up that day. “We’re keeping most of them – they’re not leaving us.”

Mehok said the enrollment stands at 532 students, and they can likely accommodate 550.

Revenues are $430,000, with expenses at almost $400,000, board member Paul Pechon reported. An extra $75,000 is expected carry over in January from the previous operator, the Algiers Charter School Association.

To provide extra security for their balance sheets, the school has asked Iberia Bank for a $150,000 line of credit and is waiting for the bank’s response.

“It’s really not an anticipation of any cash-flow crisis. It’s almost a rainy-day type of thing,” Pechon said. “It’s financial prudence just to have something available.”

Board members also talked about their grievance policy, the open-records law, and – in a private executive session – one employee’s competence.

They hope to use $60,000 in private money to renovate two student bathrooms that are causing an odor in the hallway.

Workers already upgraded two other bathrooms for slightly more money.

The school is working under a FEMA process to select a contractor to put in a new roof, with a total makeover due in a few years.

Mehok noted there is a problem with flies in the front-facing rooms, but no solution was discussed.

The school recently had about 50 visitors, and has scheduled another visitor day for Jan. 18.

The next meeting is Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. Lause is set to update members on where students are coming from.

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