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KIPP leaders track recent 70-student loss

KIPP’s New Orleans enrollment has dropped by 70 students, with an estimated half of those moving out of the area and others moving to other local schools.

That’s according Feb. 1 figures KIPP CEO Rhonda Aluise shared with board members on Thursday.

The state counts students on Oct. 1 and Feb. 1 to determine how much money to reimburse the school for student expenses.

Though the lower number will mean fewer per-pupil dollars for KIPP schools, the overall increase in special needs students will provide additional income for the organization, she said.

Currently, about 11 percent of KIPP’s student body receive special needs services which qualify the school for additional state funding. KIPP’s final enrollment count stands at 3,141 students.

Aluise said that this year’s new OneApp process made it easier for students to change schools throughout the year because all open-enrollment schools were required to continue accepting students until they reached capacity, a policy previously left to individual schools.

Last month, KIPP leaders said the organization’s budget expects to break even by a margin of about one percent this year. Finance committee members said then that it is importance to build a surplus to protect the school from unexpected issues or future mid-year enrollment drops. The committee also noted that this year they received a clean audit report.

Looking forward, KIPP expects to grow by 18 percent next year, with a new senior class at KIPP Renaissance, an additional eighth grade at KIPP NOLA, and two new second grade classes at KIPP Believe College Prep and KIPP Leadership Primary. During 2013-14, all of KIPP’s middle schools will serve every grade originally sought in their charter. Also, seven of its nine schools are expected to be fully enrolled, said director of advocacy Jonathan Bertsch.

Aluise said the organization plans to present a long-term growth plan in mid-March or April.

KIPP leaders will continue to meet with representatives of charter school funders like New Schools for New Orleans and the Charter School Growth Fund to find ways to build their surplus and fund future schools, Aluise said.

Board members Ben Allen, Jodi Aamodt, Therese Badon, Sheila Dickerson, Joseph Giarrusso, Jeffrey Goldring, Clifford Favrot, John Landrum, Courtney Murphy, Alan Philipson, Florencia Polite, Stephen Rosenthal, and newly elected board members Askala Harris, Gwathmey Gomila were in attendance.


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  • nickelndime

    Funny how fewer per pupil dollars never seem to affect KIPP administrators’ pay! Those 6-figure salaries just keep growing and growing. Maybe KIPP Board members are putting their own money up for administrative salaries. How long will NSNO have those federal funds to play with? NSNO-Help the RSD close one F school (allocate $1,000,000 to an OPSB charter +$800,000 incentive to provide busing), but keep 5 F and 15 D schools open! “I smell a fish fry.”

  • It would be very useful to know last year’s state test scores of the 70 departed students; how many were failing, how many Approaching Basic, how many Basic, how many Mastery? I ask this question since 1) a few, low outlier scores on standardized tests can greatly affect a school’s overall performance score and 2) all except KIPP Renaissance High School (as I recall) had essentially stagnant school growth last year. It is sad but true that schools which have the capacity to “counsel out” poorly performing students for the sake of the school’s academic balance sheet sometimes do just that as a way to manipulate the appearance of the overall performance of the school. Some NOPS academic magnet schools did it before Katrina, and some Charters do it now. Just ask administrators at John McDonough H.S., who have been dealing with Charter School castoffs for years.

    So–if the academic achievement profile of these departed students is significantly lower than those of the schools they left, there is cause for suspicion. Lens Staffers, here’s a challenge; while state law blocks schools from releasing student’s test data, there’s nothing to stop the parents of the students themselves from commenting on their reasons for leaving. If you can find 10-15 of those 70 who are willing to talk even anonymously, there may be a very useful story there.

  • nickelndime

    And not only do some public schools (pre- and post Katrina) counsel out academically-low performing students, let us not forget the ones that openly select the academically-highest performing students and call it “selective admissions” (which I guess makes that acceptable because it fulfills the school’s mission). Then at public expense, these schools apply for national recognition honors, e.g., “Blue Ribbon School.”