Pride College Prep expects revenues for the current year to fall short by $186,000, a deficit of about 5.5 percent in the school’s $3.4 million operating budget, board members learned at their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

Finance director Simone Green said administrators will dip into savings to cover the shortfall, the first time in its four years the school has had to do so.  She said maintenance of the new building and fewer-than-expected special-education students were principal causes of the revenue gap.

Green said the school is seven students short of the 330 anticipated in the annual budget, which reduces state funding allocated on a per-student basis. Lower enrollment of special-education students accounts for $80,000 of the gap, and custodial costs rose $58,000 compared to last year, Green said.

Initially the school was also counting on $30,000 in Medicaid reimbursements, but Green removed them from the budget.  She said the school does not yet have a provider number through which to seek reimbursement for student health services.

Transportation costs are expected to exceed the original budget projections by $20,000.

Board members were also concerned that, with classes underway, construction crews are still finishing work on the new building, and there is no agreement with the Recovery School District about how to divide up utility bills. Board chairman Allen Square suggested the bill be broken down to identify hours during which electricity is used by both the school and construction crews.

School director Michael Richard discussed initial student testing data compiled by the Achievement Network. He said teachers were taught to analyze the numbers during a “data day,” Oct. 5.

The board approved minutes from its September meeting and voted to extend member K. Lavon Wright’s term for an additional year.

The board then went into a half-hour executive session to discuss what it called “personnel issues.”  Advised by a reporter for The Lens that this was not a permitted reason for a closed-door session, board members said the purpose was to evaluate the performance of the school’s director.

Board members informally adjourned without calling the public meeting back into session.

Members present in addition to Square were Lisa Tabb, Gabriel Bordenave, Sam Joel and Rita Reed. The meeting began at 6:55 p.m. and adjourned at 8:15 p.m.

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...