Audubon Charter School leaders heard a presentation on a $6.9 million budget for the coming school year that will include the addition of a new Chinese teacher for middle school students.

The budget represents a dip of about $200,000 from last year, some of which is accounted for the expiration of a grant that paid for a behavior interventionist, said CPA Ben Hicks. The number of students is projected to rise slightly to 720 from the current 711. The school will have 59 teachers, 21 aides and five faculty members paid for by outside sources next year, compared to 58 teachers, 22 aides and four from outside sources this year.

One of the new teachers will be a Chinese teacher, funded through a grant from the American Councils for International Education Teachers of Critical Languages program. Instruction in a third language is actually part of the curriculum for French middle school students, said principal Janice Dupuy, so Chinese will be taught to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students in the French program. It will also be available to upper-grade Montessori students, and possibly through an after-school program as well, Dupuy said.

The first year is already funded, and the school will have the opportunity to re-apply for a second year, Dupuy said.

“We’re hopeful we will get a second time,” Dupuy said. “After that, it’s going to be all about funding.”

Audubon is one of only 10 schools in the country to receive the grant this year, according to a report from French school director Elfi Cheynet.

Saturday’s meeting included very little by way of update on the school’s expected move from the Carrollton campus to the McDonogh 7 building on Milan Street. Dupuy said she still has not received official notification that the move is final, so she has not yet formally announced it to parents.

Only two board members, chair Cornelius Tilton and member Eva Alito, attended the budget hearing. Two more, Derek Bardell and Jason Coleman, joined for the board meeting afterward, but the four of them still lacked a fifth member needed for a quorum.

Tilton initially said the board could convene the meeting using a proxy vote from absent member Shawn Barney and took a handful of procedural votes on the agenda and minutes. Upon being informed of an Attorney General’s opinion prohibiting the use of proxy votes to reach a quorum, however, Tilton called no further votes and the meeting adjourned after the final staff reports were given. No votes on policy matters were taken.

See a video of the meeting and a live blog of the story at the Uptown Messenger link below.

This story was first published by Uptown Messenger and appears here under a special arrangement. Unlike other Lens stories, it cannot be republished.