The McDonogh City Park Academy leaders will hold off on purchasing radio advertising to promote enrollment for the charter school until after the first round of the Recovery School District’s OneApp enrollment process is complete.

During their regular board of directors meeting Tuesday, members discussed ways to continue increasing enrollment at the 429-student school.

City Park Academy School Services Coordinator Carmelite Price said the school has sent out applications to parents of current students. So far, she said, the school has received only 46 forms back, but many more are expected thanks to OneApp, the state-run enrollment system that allows parents to apply to multiple schools with one application.

Price also told board members that she has been visiting Head Start centers around the city to promote kindergarten enrollment at City Park Academy.

“That seems to be working because we do offer them a uniform, a book sack and a pair of shoes if they’re enrolled,” Price said. “I just don’t see enrollment being that big of a deal because even though we’ve lost a couple of students, we’re constantly getting new students.”

Board member Mike Bagot said that that some charter schools in the city have purchased 15-second slots on TV to promote enrollment.

“That shocked me,” he said. “That’s a lot of money.”

In the past, when the school was under-enrolled, board chairwoman Mary Kay Parker said, the school did approve radio advertising.

“It was very successful, but the last few years our enrollment has been increasing each year,” Parker said. “I feel like our parents are more satisfied with the school this year than ever before,” Parker said. I think people know the system better than they used to – better than they did right after the storm.”

Board members decided to wait until the first round of enrollment through OneApp is finished before deciding whether to pursue advertising for City Park Academy.

“With OneApp, you never know what you’re going to get,” Parker said. “Last summer, they had us registered for close to 500 kids. We ended up with less than 340 the first week of school.”

In other business, board attorney Eddie Rantz presented an overview of open meetings laws for board members, explaining the exceptions in state law that allow closed-door meetings and the process boards must follow when they decide to meet privately.

Parker said she asked Rantz to make the presentation following a “snafu” at last month’s meeting in which the board met in executive session despite objections from a charter school reporter for The Lens, who was the only member of the public in attendance.

Heather Miller

Heather Miller is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to The Lens' Charter School Reporting Corps. She is a former staff writer for The Independent in Lafayette, and is now based in New Orleans.