Friends of King School met in regular session on July 25, after passing budgets for the two schools under the board’s management: Martin Luther King School of Science and Technology and Joseph Craig Elementary.
Principal Doris Hicks, chief executive officer of the schools, updated the board on an overture from a group of George Washington Carver alumni interested in getting Friends of King to help them apply for a charter to run their troubled high school.
“They’re trying very desperately to get their application in,” Hicks said, noting that the group had just filed an application when the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education put out a new form that requires them to start all over again.
“It’s a large document,” board president Hilda Young said. “At this time, with the challenges we have with Craig and King, I don’t think we can load our CEO’s plate with this.”
Lindsey Moore, principal of King’s high school, pointed out another problem. Collegiate Academies of New Orleans, one of the city’s most successful school operators, has already received a charter for the school and the takeover appears to be rolling forward, despite complaints from some Carver alumni that the school won’t be “community-run.”
Some members of the King board had previously expressed hope that they could take over Carver, satisfying both alumni in favor of a community-run approach and those impressed by Collegiate’s record. “The problem is, they have two factions there,” Moore said.
In other business, the board approved a motion to establish a 403(b) retirement fund for Craig employees. Young abstained from voting, as did member Gail Armant.
Members noted that the Louisiana Department of Education had not yet approved King’s decision to drop out of the expensive state retirement system and seek a private plan such as the one they approved for Craig.
Present in addition to Hicks, Young, Moore and Armant were Thelma Ruth, secretary; Cora Charles, treasurer; and members George Rabb, Eartha Johnson, Sandra Monroe, and board attorney Tracie Washington. Craig principal Ora Wiley was also present. Member Kenya Rounds was absent.