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Lycee Francais charter school passes 2012-2013 budget without making it available for public previewC

While it was clear that the budget for the Lycee Francais charter school was going to pass on Monday night, June 11, it was unclear whether the board was acting in accordance with state laws.
The board of directors for Lycee Francais de la Nouvelle Orleans unanimously passed the $3.1 million budget Monday night with little discussion.
No notice was placed in the local newspaper about the vote on the budget; nor was there a special announcement on the school’s website or a specific time allotted for public comments on the budget before the vote was taken.
When pressed from a reporter from the Lens about the law, members said they felt they were exempt from the rules based on Lycee Francais’ peculiar type of charter school designation. Members said they would investigate the requirements.
“We’re looking to find out what we need to do to comply,” said Board President Jean Montes.
“If we need to do it, we will definitely put it out,” Montes said, referring to publishing the budget in the newspaper of record, the Times-Picayune.
Members said they must report their budget for next year to the state by June 30.
Lycee Francais’ 2012-13 budget shows a $49,000 surplus with a $89,578 reserve fund.
Montes announced that enrollment for the 2012-13 school year is as follows:
  • PreK-3 has three full classes, with 60 students.
  • PreK-4 has four classes, with 80 students.
  • Kindergarten will have 4-5 classes with 110 students total.
  • First grade will have 4-5 classes with 70 students total.
  • Second grade will have two classes with 30 students in all.
Montes said Lycee Francais will offer lunch service next year. It’s the first time the school will offer such a service, yet Montes said school administrators don’t know which food service provider it will use.
“Our consultant has been working on food service for next year and will present us with options on the best for the time being.” Montes said. “We’re working for ongoing improvements in everything we offer, but we will decide something to get it going,” he said.
A decision will be made in July, Montes said.
The largest income source for next year’s budget comes from the $773,258 the school expects to collect in fees, including tuition among students in Pre-K3 and those in Pre-K4, who are above a certain income level.
The school will also use a $100,000 Public Charter School Program grant, administered through the Department of Education to help support charter school costs above what the state pays.
The largest expense in the 2012-13 budget is teacher salaries and associated benefits as well as rent on all campuses, which costs $217,700 a year.
The budget also allots $66,392 for new furniture and $48,500 for technology hardware, which Montes said is needed since all grades but PK3 will be holding classes at the new State Street campus.
In other financial business, board members unanimously voted to change the school’s 401K policy to only match funds for employees who have worked full-time at the school for six months or who have logged 1,044 or more hours.
The school currently pays 3 percent for all employees and up to a 5 percent match of what employees contribute, members said.
In other business, it was announced that Lycee Francais General Director Jean-Jacques Grandiere is traveling to France over the next several weeks in order to meet with members of the French Ministry of Education and French government about securing additional funding sources for the school.
“(This could contribute to) general resources, books for teachers, school supplies and potential teachers for the future,” Montes said. “With the new French government that is in place, we felt like it was important for us to establish a good relationship with them.”
Montes said the school will also roll out a new more interactive website for parents in the next month and will work with neighbors to address parking and traffic concerns at each of its campuses.
The next meeting is planned to be scheduled before the end of June in order to take another vote on the budget, if necessary.
Check The Lens for updates.
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