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Board to talk with teachers about leaving the state retirement system

A rushed board overseeing McDonogh 42 Elementary Charter almost skipped over an agenda item regarding their teachers pension plan as a matter for discussion, and then passed five action items in one vote as the Treme Charter School Association Board of Directors met Nov. 19.

The agenda listed a possible opting out of the Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana as an item for discussion, but the topic was only brought up last-minute at the meeting.

Finance committee chairman Bernard Robertson III said he intends to gather information regarding the opt-out timeline of the retirement plan.  Vice President Tracie Washington made it clear that she hopes the board will hear out the teaching staff in a public discussion.

“We’re not going to make the decision for them,” Robertson said. “We’re going to make the decision with them.”

Recently, the Algiers Charter School Association appeared to leave the retirement system, and then relented after teachers objected.

The Treme board swiftly approved five action items in one vote. These motions included ratifying the letter of intent and charter school renewal application submitted to the Recovery School District and the Supplemental Educational Services Waiver submitted to the Louisiana Department of Education. The school will be notified of RSD’s recommendation regarding renewal of the charter by the end of November.

Additionally the vote determined that the board should receive the first quarter financial report and adopt the salary overpayment policy and correction procedures. The fifth action item approved personnel actions including changes in assignment for some teachers and a salary adjustment for another.

A sixth action item, regarding monthly financial reports, will be voted on at the next meeting because board President Rosyln Smith wanted to wait until the organization’s attorney was present. The approval of October’s minutes was also pushed to the next meeting.

In other updates, Robertson said the school’s annual audit already has been submitted.  The school staff also voiced safety concerns about construction underway at the school, including one incident when something fell from the roof and where heavy machinery has created large indents in the asphalt and yard.

Two staff members spoke about their experience while attending the Louisiana Public Charter School Annual Conference. They kept it brief because they would be presenting the information at upcoming scheduled professional development.

Board members present included Smith,  Washington, Robertson, Carol McCree, Madonna Green, and Bherita Hall (arriving at 11:47 a.m.).  School Principal Gail Lazard, Business Manager Cynthia Horne, and PTA President Liza Thomas were also present.

The meeting, scheduled for 11 a.m., began at 11:32 a.m. and adjourned at 12:12 p.m.  The next board meeting will be held Dec. 17.

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