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Intercultural’s fire prevention notification system was disconnected, school officials say

Intercultural Charter School’s fire prevention system was disconnected last month, school officials there said.

Chief financial officer Tom Slager announced during the school’s March 18 board meeting that the system had been yellow-tagged, meaning it does not dial out to the fire department. He said that if a fire occurred at night, the school would have had to rely on people on nearby property seeing the fire and calling 911.

“It doesn’t call out because [the Recovery School District] disconnected our lines. And RSD did that without any warning,” he said.

Slager said that RSD officials had decided to cut off fire service for the charter schools, who now have to pay for it themselves.

“Nobody gave us notification that they were cutting off those lines for the charter schools,” said Principal Pamela Randall.

Chair Cam-Thanh Tran asked, “So, if a fire started, who would be liable?”

“I suppose we would,” replied Slager.  “We occupy the building.”

Contacted after the meeting about the matter, RSD spokeswoman Zoey Reed said that Intercultural never had a contract with RSD for the fire notification system.

“The building that Intercultural was in was once a RSD direct-run school,” Reed said in an email. “We cancelled the services prior to Intercultural moving into the building. From what we understand, AT&T never disconnected the line and recently AT&T caught their error and disconnected the line. The RSD was not notified that an Intercultural line was being disconnected.”

Slager said during the meeting that despite the problems arrangements had been made to correct the issue.

Tran told the board of a meeting with officials from Einstein Charter School, which will be taking over Intercultural in July.

“We had a meeting with Einstein three weeks ago. I’ll be very honest. I was kind of disappointed in the meeting. I expected them to come in with a lot of questions … I was very surprised that the new principal didn’t say a single word.”

Principal Pamela Randall gave the board an update on a discussion with Einstein officials, who explained to her how the new school will be organized. According to Randall, when Einstein takes over the school, students will be organized into tiered classes based on their academic performance.

Special Education teacher Stan Scholtz asked the board if they were positive that staff pay and healthcare for teachers would be paid through July. “[The teachers] are just concerned they won’t know until the last minute, and then the organization will be dissolved.”

Mr. Slager responded. “When I say pay everyone out, I mean remote control … We want to be cashed out as an organization. What I want is to have the payroll transferred over, so that it’s funded.”

Also present were members Kathy Carlin and Jerome Jordan, Treasurer Francis Cascio, and a Lens reporter. The meeting was adjourned at 7:10 p.m.

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  • nickelndime

    Hello! They [i.e., CEO Shawn Toranto and appointed-principal Glendalyn Framer Lewis (who does not hold principal/administrative certification)] did not ask questions because they do not know what questions to ask (academic, financial, building, or otherwise). New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) offers the Einstein Group $1 million in i3 federal funds and $800,000 (over 2 years) to cover transportation costs to take over the RSD failing-“F” ICS and remove it from the RSD’s performance score for 2013, and Cam Tran expects this group to be knowledgeable about specifics. What is everybody drinking? I want some.