Over 50 parents, teachers, and community members attended the Algiers Charter School Association’s monthly board meeting, Jan. 31, many asking for additional transparency as board members took steps toward a new teacher retirement plan and technology services.

Larry Hammond, the great-uncle of a student at Martin Behrman Elementary, asked why the board did not provide minutes of previous meetings. All minutes are available on the school association website the day after the meeting where they are approved, he was told.

Another audience member provided the board with a written request for 10 financial documents, including ACSA’s central office budget.

“We need to know more about this ‘so-called deficit,’” the requester said. “ You laid people off before Christmas, and we didn’t think that would happen before, back in the October meeting.”

The board said it would provide the requested material.

“This is a pivotal time for education in Louisiana and this country, and I encourage you to make sure our mission statement will be successful,” board member John Edwards said.

The board said it hopes to receive at least 10 responses to their request for proposals from providers of 403B retirement plans. As previously announced, the board is studying possible withdrawal from the state pension plan because of cost considerations. A 403B retirement plan is similar to a 401K, but with special tax allowances for a non-profit organization.

The board also approved a request for proposals from educational technology companies to replace computers, servers, and other high-tech gear that was installed shortly after Hurricane Katrina.

Also approved were contracts for data analysis consultants who will look at current testing practices at Eisenhower Elementary and McDonogh 32.

Finally, the board approved a revision to the budget to account for the deficit caused by lower than expected enrollment numbers.

The facilities committee reported that there will be a meeting next month to discuss the possible merger of O. Perry Walker and L.B. Landry. Details will be announced when more information is available.

Parents of ACSA students were advised that the board will release an enrollment application form for next year on Feb. 7 Feb. 22. The deadline for submitting them is March 31.