Students and staff at Lake Forest Elementary Charter school are gearing up for the next round of state testing.

Principal Mardele Early told members of the school’s charter board Jan. 16 that the approach of LEAP testing in April means the school is adding tutoring sessions and extending school days in an effort to help those students who haven’t yet mastered some of the academic skills they will be expected to demonstrate.

Students who need “re-teaching,” as Early called it, can stay as late as 5:45 p.m. at the A-rated school. Eighth graders who need additional instruction before the LEAP test are asked to attend 13 Saturday sessions, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Board member Donald Pate asked if the long days were a problem for the students.

Early said that students get a break after the end of the regular school day, and that students, as well as parents had been asked to bring snacks, so that they get a chance to relax before continuing their studies.

Bernell St. Cyr, director of finances and facilities, updated the board on the school’s financial outlook. According to the budget he presented to the board, the school expects to be $171,108 under budget for the year.

“We have done a pretty good job in managing our expectations, relative to budget,” he said before the board voted unanimously to accept the report.

Director of Development Joshua P. Fertitta gave the board an update on his fund-raising plans for the school.

“As of yesterday, we submitted our first grant application since I came on board,” he said. The application puts the school in the running to receive $14,000 to encourage healthy habits and choices.

Fertitta explained that the height of grant-writing season would be the next three months, and that he hoped to submit 30 to 40 letters of intent to grant organizations during this period.

“This whole process is a slow climb, and Josh has done a great job,” Pate said.

Fertitta joked that the staff would probably be sleeping at the school for a few months as they make these applications.

“We’ll give you a key to the security code,” said St. Cyr.

“Like everybody else,” joked Early.

Fertitta discussed the idea of Lake Forest holding a fundraising gala in the fall.

Early instructed members to think of ideas for entertainment, and consider which parents might best form a committee to organize the event. Members agreed to consider the options, and discuss the topic at future meetings.

The next meeting will take place on February 20, 1:30 p.m.

Present at the meeting were Pate, Gina Dupart, Denise Williams and Brian K. Richburg, Sr. Also present werre St. Cyr. and Robin Gorman, Lake Forest’s operations manager. Absent were president Lee Caston, Leila Eames, and Windi Brown.