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Dispute flares over authority to add 2nd grade; fundraising fete declared a success

In an occasionally tense monthly meeting on March 12, Lycée Francais board members debated whether they or the school’s administration has the authority to approve adding a new class to the school.

Earlier this month, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved continued  exploration of adding a second grade. But as the board discussed the issue, some members expressed concern that school administrators, rather than the board, were in charge of the process.

“After determining we had the relevancy to move forward and the capacity to add the class,” board member Jean Montés said, “BESE has charged the administration with going on with adding a new grade.”

Montés is acting as a liaison between BESE and the school’s board and administrators. At this point, he said, the administration has invited applications to gauge family interest in the new class. So far 34 applications have been received, and only one of them was solicited. Montés’ update prompted grumbling among some board members that they should be playing a more active role in the process.

Since school growth affects the budget, a board responsibility,  the board should have final control, one member said.

Board member Paige Saleun disagreed. Since BESE has charged the administration with responsibility for adding the class, the board should stay out of it, Saleun said.

“BESE told the administration to do this,” Saleun said. “The administration will look into it and then make a recommendation to the board.”

After 10 minutes, board chair Andrew Abrams closed the debate, saying  that a final decision on whether to add the grade will be made only after sufficient information is gathered. For now, Abrams said, the board will defer to the administration and schedule a final vote after a task force led by Montés meets with school administrators.

In other business, the board celebrated the success of their annual fundraiser, Fete de la Musique, which was held March 11. All board members spoke positively about the event, which drew more than 500 people and may have netted $30,000, Saleun said. The final tally, measured against expenses, has yet to be calculated exactly.

The meeting began at 6:50 p.m. and ended at 7:20 p.m.  Mignhon Tourne was the only board member not in attendance. 

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