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New Beginnings hires new CEO, adds classes to school calendar

New Beginnings Charter School’s board of directors announced Sametta Brown as its new chief executive officer Wednesday night.

The board expressed frustration with the Recovery School District’s OneApp unified enrollment syndrome.  The enrollment projections fell short by 206 students, leaving the network with 1811 students.  The shortage equates to a difference of more than $1.5 million in per pupil state funding.

The financial office originally went into the budget to make revisions to meet OneApp projected enrollments.

“The revised budget never made it to the board for approval because we quickly realized that we weren’t going to get that many students with the OneApp,” Director of Finance Kendal Turner said.

The board meets bi-monthly and had regularly scheduled board meetings at the end of July and September.  Therefore, the budget revisions approved by the board Wednesday were not as drastic as they would have been had they been approved in August said Turner.

“We just kept the teachers we had for the most part,” said Turner when asked if there would be staff turnover.

Turner said the audit process would begin in the next two weeks.   The board approved the finances as presented.

Interim CEO Helene Derbigny updated the board on facility conditions after Isaac.  Two of the network’s four schools had minor roof leaks.  Pierre Capdau Elementary lost 25 windows.  The network is filing claims through the state’s office of risk management.

The board approved a motion to adjust the school calendar, adding classes on Nov. 19-20, Jan. 3-4, and April 2, as Isaac make-up days.

Derbigny introduced Jessica Kudji, the network’s new grants manager.  Derbigny also noted that the network is looking to fill a few vacancies, and will likely do so internally.

Derbigny said the network received a two-year extension of the Hurricane Educator Assistance Program grant, which helps fund professional development.  She said the network also received an extension for its Gulf Coast Recovery Grant.  Capdau Elementary was awarded $7,500 through Capital One for a healthy living program.  Lake Area New Tech Early College High School was awarded $12,000 from Capital One, designated for band and athletic uniforms.

Juaquana Stewart, interim director of academic affairs, updated board members on the new school performance score calculation.  All schools will be given a score on a scale between zero and 150.  The old scale produced scores up to 200.  The new scores are calculated differently as well.  Scores from the 2011-2012 school year will be released this fall.

Stewart recommended the board allow the high school to participate in the Louisiana Seat Time Waiver program.  The board approved a motion to do so.  The LSTW program allows students to have a more personalized curriculum.

The board thanked Helene Derbigny for serving as interim CEO.

The board then made a motion to move to executive session regarding “personnel matters”.  When asked if the person or persons to be discussed had been notified 24 hours in advance, as is required by state law, Chairman Tim Ryan said multiple people were to be discussed and that they had all been notified.  Sametta Brown sat in on the two-hour executive session.

In addition to Ryan, members Carol Skriloff Starr, Carla Major, and ex-officio member April Bedford were present.  The meeting began at 5:10 p.m. and adjourned at 8:10 p.m.



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