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Morris Jeff prepares for move to Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church

Officials at Morris Jeff Community School are preparing for the move to Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church at 1322 Moss St. for the 2013-14 school year.

The school’s board discussed the move during its Thursday meeting.

The school is slated to move to the temporary location before settling into a permanent location at the Fisk-Howard Elementary School site at 211 South Lopez St. Morris Jeff has a lease for two years at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church.

Principal Patricia Perkins described a few “sprucing up tasks” needed at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, including taking care of asbestos tiles, replacing ceiling tiles, installing better lighting and painting some of the classrooms.

“It still feels very, very good,” Perkins said about the temporary relocation. “It’s a solid building.”

For some of the tasks, the school will rely on community outreach and volunteers — a plan that was discussed during a community engagement committee meeting held just prior to the board meeting.

In addition to minor building renovation, the board’s community engagement committee talked about how to collaborate with community leaders and organizations once the school is settled into the Mid City area.

Board member Jennifer Weishaupt suggested that the school help spruce up Desmare Playground, located between Esplanade Avenue and Moss Street.

“It could use a lot of flowers,” Weishaupt said. “It needs some TLC.”

She also said that swings are missing and that the basketball court could use new nets.

Weishaupt said that the playground could serve as a recess area for Morris Jeff kids, but that playground renovations could offer an opportunity to rub elbows with and get to know other Mid City residents.

“We could have a community day on the playground,” Weishaupt said.

In 2012, the park was closed after high levels of lead were detected in the soil. The city promised to remediate the contaminated areas.

Since then, the park has been reopened and is slated for even bigger renovation, Weishaupt said.

Additionally, board members discussed how to better engage Mid City small businesses by inviting them to functions such “Breakfast with the Principal,” a monthly networking event. The next two breakfasts are scheduled for May 17 and June 14.

School leaders also discussed other community engagement opportunities, such as the Mid City Bayoo Boogaloo from May 17-19, and a possible field day for the school at the future permanent site on May 31.

In other school news, leaders and board members said that they had not yet received an update from the Recovery School District about which which students have been accepted to Morris Jeff for the 2013-14 school year.

Perkins said that the RSD’s delay was a source of frustration for both school officials and for parents.

“We have no information as to why,” Perkins said. She said parents had been calling to find out more.

Jared Frank, the school’s director of finance and operations, said that school leaders would work through the school’s spring break next week calling parents to say they had been accepted if the RSD came out with data during that time.

Board President Aesha Rasheed suggested that the school website be updated to tell parents that Morris Jeff leaders will notify them of the news as soon they get it.

 From the financial report, the school voted to accept the school’s Form 990 tax information, which details information about the school’s mission and finances, with a few minor changes.

The board also voted to approve the third quarter budget with some revisions.

 Notable revisions included increasing the budget for contributions and donations from $50,000 to $80,000, allowing room in the budget for the new Believe and Include grant and increasing the budget for special education purchased services from about $42,000 to $80,500.

The school also increased the budget for property insurance, which is $90 a student.

 March’s budget showed a net income in the red for about $19,000 for the month. Board Treasurer Melissa Jagers said that the loss was due to a computer glitch that accidentally miscounted the number of students that the school would receive revenue for from the district.

 That error has been fixed, she added.

In addition to Rasheed, Perkins, Frank, Weishaupt and Jagers, board members Jolene Jeff, Stacey Gengel and Belinda Cambre were all in attendance.

The next board meeting is scheduled for May 16.

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