Milestone/SABIS Academy will proceed with acquisition of 5.5 acres in Gentilly as the site for a new school, board members learned at their January meeting. Board member Lorin Crenshaw said the facilities committee will proceed to evaluate the construction firms that have expressed interest in the project. Local and national firms have been asked to submit proposals. Two have submitted bids.

Rodney Lilley said the financial report is being revised. The proposed budget for 2012 projects enrollment, now at 399, to top 400. Lilley said, adding that school finances are in good order. Board treasurer Tonia Moore reported that federal reimbursements have been received, leaving a positive balance of approximately $300.

Principal Catherine Boozer said ongoing marketing strategies aim to increase student enrollment. Paid advertisements will continue to run on many different radio stations to reach different ethnic groups. Boozer said that the school marched in the Martin Luther King Day parade.

In preparation for LEAP exams, activities have been initiated to hone thinking skills in grades three through eight, Boozer said.

In other news, a mobile dental unit visited the school on Jan. 17. Speech, hearing and vision screenings were conducted for students in kindergarten through third grade.

Boozer said eight-graders who came to the board’s November meeting asking support for a field trip to Washington, D.C., are still selling chocolates to raise money for travel expenses, estimated at $1,125 per student. A group of 25, including chaperones, hopes to make the trip, April 17. Chocolate sales totals are due March 1, and students will then quantify their request from the board. Board president Leslie Ellison requested that the principal create a proposal and projected budget for the trip.  

The board’s development committee announced that the school will have a fundraising  night at Byblos restaurant on March 1, a Thursday. Entertainers will include Kermit Ruffins, and tickets will be $50. Approximately 800 sponsors have been invited by the board, which will also help with ticket sales. Donations can be made through the schools web page.

The Jan. 30 meeting ended at 6:50 p.m. In addition to Ellison, Crenshaw and Moore, board member  Nayita Wilson was present. Board member Tilman Hardy was absent. Non-board members present were Boozer and a reporter from The Lens.