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ENCORE Academy decides to remain on Marengo Street 2013-14

ENCORE Academy will remain in its building for another year, giving the board more time to discuss adding priority zip codes to its charter and allowing the school to easily manage its own enrollment process for the additional year.

“We’ve been invited to stay in this building another year,” school leader Terri Smith told the school’s board Tuesday at its regular meeting.

“We have lots of time now and that’s a good thing,” Smith said. “I only want to move once.”

She said ENCORE will remain in the space it currently shares with Crocker Arts and Technology School at 2301 Marengo St. for the 2013-14 school year. Smith said she has already spoken with Ben Kleban, CEO of New Orleans College Prep. Kleban’s charter will take over Crocker next year and share the space with ENCORE.

“It’s a really great start to a partnership and we’ll be meeting every couple of weeks throughout the year,” Smith said.

Earlier this fall, Smith encouraged board members to approve ENCORE joining the district’s centralized enrollment process, which is intended to make applying to numerous schools easier for parents by only requiring them to fill out one application.

ENCORE has plans to grow in the coming years but Smith was unsure when that would happen as she did not know how much space the school would have. Since the school will remain in the smaller shared space Smith says they will easily fill their own seats with students advancing grades and do not need the help of a larger enrollment system.

The board voted Tuesday to table action on the possibility of adding priority zip codes to its charter, which, if approved, would also factor into its enrollment lottery system.

“Because we’re not going to be recruiting a huge number of children we just felt that it really wasn’t worth it this year,” said Smith regarding the centralized enrollment process.

“This could potentially reduce transportation costs but that’s no reason to set it in stone today,” said member Kesana Durand.

Board members agreed and no vote was necessary for the school to continue managing its own enrollment.

“I don’t know if we’ll do [priority zip codes] or not because we don’t know exactly where we’re going to be,” said Smith, though she added “we want to be an Uptown school.”

When asked by The Lens if she had her eyes on any school building in the area Smith said no.

“We wouldn’t turn down a school, certainly not … but we’re not opposed to finding a space and designing it just for us and our program,” she said.

The board voted unanimously to reduce the number of working board committees from four to three.  The policy committee will fold into the executive committee and the board will retain the finance and fundraising committees.

At the board retreat last month members decided to create a new application for prospective board members. Board members Herb Patterson and Frannie Montegut developed an application and the rest of the board reviewed it briefly on Tuesday.

However they decided to table action on the application as Montegut, an attorney, who helped author the application was absent. There were no prospective board members for the board to interview as the agenda originally stated that it would.

Smith also reported that a fifth-grade teacher had resigned to take a position at another school.  She said the school has had two fifth grade teachers, so it did not need to rehire for the empty position. She said this will save the school $10,000 over the remainder of the school year.

Though board members spent a lot of time during their Nov. 10 board retreat discussing the need to develop committees and establish monthly committee meeting dates, only one of the committees had met before Tuesday’s meeting.

Patterson said the finance committee met last week.  He said the school is trying to negotiate a reduction in bus routes with provider First Student.  If they drop one route they could save $25,000 over the rest of the year, he said.  He said negotiations are ongoing but the goal is to reduce the routes beginning in January.

Board members Patterson, Bergeron, Linda Launey, and Kesana Durand were present.  Members Montegut, Melody Baham and Sehzad Sooklal were absent.  The meeting began at 6:40 p.m. and adjourned at 7:17

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