By Marta Jewson, The Lens charter school reporter |

A federal i3 grant to expand enrollment was up for discussion at the James Singleton Charter School directors meeting, April 17.

The i3 program describes itself as designed “to turn around persistently low-performing schools through the development of new public charter schools.”  The grant would provide up to $1 million. Finalists will receive notification by May 4.

The board voted to receive bank reconciliations for the periods ending January 31 and February 29 for both the school and the Dryades Y, which it also directs.  Chief financial officer Catrina Reed said any differences between the “book balance” and the “bank balance” reflected  outstanding checks.

The board ratified the staff’s LA-4 Continuation/Expansion for submission to the state Department of Education, as recommended by the finance and education committee.  The school plans to enroll 40 pre-kindergarten students next year, as it did this year.

President and chief executive officer Douglas Evans told the board that the 21st Century Community Learning Center, which provides after-school enrichment, has reached the end of its three-year contract.

“That’s an area where we’ll be working hard to fill the gap,” Evans said.

In an update on testing, principal Melrose Biagas  said state and Recovery School District testing monitors were on site during the first week of standardized testing and found no irregularities in administration of the exams.

“We’ve improved across the board,” Biagas said of recent benchmark test results.

Preliminary enrollment for the next school year stands at 744 students in kindergarten through eighth grade, plus the 40 pre-k students.

Evans said the new swimming pool is scheduled to be completed by June 8.

The board approved the minutes of their March meeting and accepted reports on YMCA programs.

The meeting began at 12:13 p.m. and ended at 1:17 p.m.

Members present included Kendricks Brass, Lance Eden, Priscilla Edwards, Victor Gordon, H. Kenneth Johnson, Mary Joseph, Ed Shanklin, Jim Singleton, and Wallace Young.  Staff present included Evans, Jay Banks, Biagas, Avis Brock, Catrina Reed and Rhenette Tobias.

Jed Horne

Opinion Editor Jed Horne is a veteran journalist who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize as part of the Times-Picayune team that covered Katrina and the recovery. He is the author of