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Dr. King Charter forgoes chance to rejoin Orleans Parish district

Dr. King Charter School will not be rejoining the Orleans Parish School District.

Its governing board, Friends of King, last week decided against sending a letter of intent to leave the Recovery School District and rejoin the local school district as its improved academic performance allows.

Principal Doris Hicks told the board during its Dec. 11 meeting that moving under Orleans Parish oversight could mean the school has less autonomy than it now enjoys.

“It means all grants will come through a central office, rather than the school,” Hicks said.

The concern is grounded. As The Lens reported in October, Orleans Parish would be entitled to take a percentage of federal money that flows through the central office.

Treasurer George Rabb said he believes it’s beneficial to remain with Recovery School District.

“I concur with Mr. Rabb,” said member Thelma Ruth.  “We can handle our own money.”

“We’re in charge of our finances,” president Hilda Young concurred. “We’ve had excellent results with that.”

Though the vote was difficult to hear from the audience, Friends of King board attorney Tracie Washington confirmed afterward that the vote was unanimous to remain with Recovery School District.

Also presented during the meeting was a document showing that enrollment at Joseph Craig Elementary is significantly down from initial estimates.

In a financial memo distributed to the board, Director of Finance Shawne Favre indicated that Craig’s student totals is below projections by about 90 students.

Craig planned and budgeted for 420 students.  As of the state’s official Oct.1 student count, there were just 330 students at the school. Favre estimated that the school’s budget would drop by $751,455 from the resulting loss in per student funding.

Board members also discussed issues regarding funding for Craig’s special education students, an issue that they discussed in-depth during their November meeting.

School officials report they have 26 students who qualify for special needs funding but who are currently classified as “general education.”

Favre, the director of finance, said that she had requested that the Recovery School District raise its estimate of the school’s special needs students.

Currently, school officials say they are paying out of pocket to ensure these misclassified students receive the special education services they require.

Present at the meeting were Hicks, attorney Tracie Washington, treasurer George Rabb, president Hilda Young, Sandra Monroe, Eartha Johnston, Craig Principal Ora Wiley, and director of Finance Shawne Favre. Board members Gail Armant, Cora Charles, and Kenya Rounds were absent.

Also present were Josh Johnston and Seth Mattei, reporters for The Lens, and Colleston Morgan from the Orleans Parish School Board.

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