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Fifty windows blown out by Isaac; search continues for kindergarten space

Hurricane Issac topped the agenda at Lusher’s monthly board meeting, Sept. 8.

While the Willow Street campus suffered minimal wind damage, and the temporary quarters at the  Jewish Community Center on St. Charles Avenue were unscathed, the Freret Street high school lost upwards of 50 windows, and another 50 need to be re-caulked, according to the board.

Indoor puddles were cleaned up within two days, and many teachers and cafeteria staff spent Labor Day at the school, readying the building for the resumption of classes on Tuesday.

In total, Isaac cost the school five days of instruction that will need to be made up; just how has not been decided.

The hurricane damage underscored the need for the Orleans Parish School Board to finalize and move forward with Lusher’s planned stabilization project, board members said. As reported here in July, OPSB has agreed to refurbish the Freret Street building by installing a new fire alarm system, repairing the drainage system, fixing air-conditioners, and attending to other safety concerns.

A recent meeting with OPSB regarding construction at Willow Street went smoothly, board members said. OPSB’s interim superintendent Stan Smith was said to be “receptive” to Lusher’s many requests for repairs and small structural improvements—“although implementation is a whole other thing,” board vice president Paul Barron said.

In other business, the board enacted a new policy stating that if the Jewish Community Center campus isn’t able to add a kindergarten class next year, as planned, then kindergarten-age siblings of current students will be placed at Lusher’s Willow Street campus. Lusher’s enrollment for this year is now officially full.

New this year, Rebecca DeVeers has replaced Eve Gitling as Lusher’s reading specialist. Atlas Prep SAT and ACT preparation courses will now be given to all juniors during study hall.

Several parents at the meeting wanted a status update on the search for a new location for Lusher students currently at the Jewish Community Center. The board acknowledged the urgency of the issue and expressed frustration at having made no real progress.

Regarding the Sept. 14 deadline for adopting the “one-app” process of enrollment, board members said they were interested, but needed more information before a decision could be reached. The one-app system would consolidate Lusher’s enrollment applications and align its enrollment dates and wait-list with other schools.

Present at the meeting in addition to Barron were board president Blaine LeCesne, treasurer Susan Krinsky, and members Carol Whelan, Ann Salzer, Kristin Huston and Andrea Armstrong. Also in attendance were Brenda Bourne, middle school principal; Wylie Ates, high school principal; Sheila Nelson, lower school principal; and Lynden Swayze, chief financial officer.

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