Board members overseeing Dr. King Charter School in the 9th Ward say they are eager to get their high school students out of portable classrooms and into a new facility.

“We are ready to build a high school in the Lower 9th Ward,” board president Hilda Young said last week during a meeting of the Friends of King school board.  “It’s time to do this.”

Doris Hicks, chief executive officer for the school, said she’d heard from newly elected New Orleans City Council member James Gray that the construction of a new Martin Luther King Science & Technology Center high school would be on his agenda.

In 2007, King became the first school to reopen following Hurricane Katrina. It has since applied with the Recovery School District to open a new campus.

Also during the Jan. 8 meeting, Hicks explained to board members that the new centralized system for student applications had taken effect in New Orleans. Under the new system, parents would fill out one application that would go into a citywide database instead of being required to apply to each charter school separately.

“There have been a few changes… Hopefully, they will permit us to keep a waiting list.” Hicks said. She said that, prior to the changes, there were 500 students on King’s waiting list.

The organization Global Green is spending nearly $1 million to install solar paneling to help save the school’s energy costs, Hicks said. Global Green agreed with the board’s assessment that the roof was unsuitable for construction, Hicks said, so the organization plans to build a solar panel construction alongside the playground.  They will also install the basic piping and plumbing for an outdoor garden at King.

Lindsey Moore, in his principal’s report for Martin Luther King high school, said that the school had now joined the High School Athletic Association.  The school will now undergo a year probationary period before it receives full membership.

Moore said that the high school currently has a volleyball team, as well as girls and boys’ basketball.  “We’re moving towards softball, for girls.”

Board president Hilda Young recognized the efforts of Joseph Craig Elementary Principal Ora Wiley.  “We know the challenges that Mrs. Wiley had when we started this year,” she said. “We appreciate everything you’ve done, and we know you will have a lot of success this year.

Director of Finance Shawne Favre told members that the school’s audit had been filed by the December deadline, and would be available for public review.

Present were President Hilda Young, Treasurer George Rabb, Joe Long, Thelma Ruth, Kenya Rounds, Eartha Johnson, Sandra Monroe, Gail Armant, CEO and Principal Doris Hicks, and Board Attorney Tracie Washington.  Also present were Joseph Craig Elementary Principal Ora Wiley, Martin Luther King High School Principal Dr. Lindsey Moore, Director of Finance Shawne Favre, Project Manager Sylvia Arcenaux-Ellison, and other King staff.  Lens reporter Joshua Johnston, managing editor Steve Beatty, charter school reporting editor Rebecca Catalanello, and attorney Scott Sternberg were also present.