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Morris Jeff’s $3.9 million budget anticipates growth of 75 students

Morris Jeff Community School’s operating budget will increase next year by about 31 percent as the charter school expands by an additional 75 students.

As Morris Jeff moves into its fourth year in operation, officials will continue the plan of adding a grade every year. Next year, the school’s fourth graders will become a new fifth grade, and a new pre-kindergarten class of 60 will join the school.

The charter’s total budget will increase from about $3 million to $3.9 million with Morris Jeff’s expansion, mostly due to per-student revenue provided from the state.

The school will expand from a total of 335 students to 410, bringing the per student revenue from $2.3 million to $3.1 million.

Other aspects of the proposed budget reflect the school’s plans for growth.

Morris Jeff’s projected budget for next year shows about a $106,000 increase in revenue from local sources. “Other” revenue accounts for about $91,00 of that.

Most of that unnamed revenue will come from the school’s Explorers aftercare program, according to Jared Frank, the school’s director of finance and operations.

“We do not receive any state funding for this program and parents pay for their students to attend,” Frank said. “As our overall school population grows, so does the participation in this program.”

Also, the grant that supports Morris Jeff’s pre-kindergarten classes will jump by nearly $82,000. According to Frank, that funding will be used for three prekindergarten classrooms.

The growing school, however, also means growing costs.

Expenditures for teacher and staff salaries will also jump next year, from about $1.6 million to about $2 million. The increase allows for the hire of three additional teachers to support the growing student population, Frank said.

According to Frank, the school may also hire additional support staff.

The proposed budget increases employee benefit costs by about $193,000, which also reflects an anticipated increase in staff.

Next year’s budget is also shifting to reflect the school’s change in location for the 2013-14 school year. Morris Jeff will move from its current location on 2239 Poydras Street to Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church, on 3368 Esplanade Avenue in Mid City.

The school has allotted for about $213,000 increase in property services as a result.

“The purchased property service category is related to building and facilities occupancy, management and maintenance,” Frank explained. “The increase is related to our move to a new campus.”

Overall, the projected 2013-14 budget operates on a surplus of about $68,000. With a leftover fund balance of about $310,000, that leaves the school with an anticipated surplus of about $377,000 at the end of the next fiscal year.

“Our budgeting process always includes the goal of a fiscally healthy fund balance,” Frank said. “This budget continues achievement of that goal.”

The school will hold a public hearing on its budget tonight at 6 p.m. at 2239 Poydras St.

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About Della Hasselle

Della Hasselle, a freelance journalist and producer, reports environmental and criminal justice stories for The Lens. A graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Hasselle lived in New York for 10 years. While up north, she produced and anchored news segments, wrote feature stories and reported breaking news for, a hyperlocal news site. Before that, she worked at the New York Daily News. She obtained her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She can be reached at (917) 304-6121.

  • Hi there!

    The school has been doing really good. It is good that there expansion plans on the anvil but then we shouldn’t be oblivious about the grim student debt scenario in the country. I would like to request the school authorities make take every possible steps to scale down the cost of education of learning in their school. This in a way will help a lot of otherwise unfortunate and not-so-wealthy children to get quality education here in New Orleans. Instead of vying for the for rich guys who can spend on lavish items, we should strive to put the quality of education and other essential services on top of our priority list. All these prudent efforts from different schools of the region will help New Orleans to churn out larger number of graduates!!!