Friends of King expects $671,000 deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30

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A financial deficit and the possible takeover of an additional school concerns dominated the last monthly meeting of Friends of King Schools’ board of directors.

Leaders at the April 30 board meeting circulated a list of grants that the organization has applied for, the largest being a $1 million Experienced Operator grant requested from New Schools for New Orleans to turn around a low-performing elementary school.

School leader Doris Hicks said she did not know which school the board might be asked to run but that there were only a few potential prospects. She speculated that Benjamin Banneker Elementary, on Burdette Street in Uptown New Orleans, was a prime candidate for a turnaround.

In his financial report, board treasurer George Rabb said the organization is projecting an end-of-year deficit on June 30,  due largely to the takeover this year of Joseph A. Craig Elementary. Documents showed that shortfall was projected to be $671,186.

“It was something we anticipated,” Rabb said. “We were prepared for it and expected it.”

Board president Hilda Young explained that the two largest contributors to the deficit were the school’s transportation budget and the ongoing shortfall in special-education funding.

The board voted unanimously to use the school’s $300,000 line of credit to cover the deficit.

“We have 39 seniors, and 39 graduates this year,” Martin Luther King High School principal Lindsey Moore told the board.

Moore also presented a report outlining student scores on the ACT standardized exam. Seniors averaged a composite score of 15.4, while juniors averaged 14.6.

Eighth- and ninth-graders took the ACT Explore, and both classes scored around one point below the national average.

Student Jamal Preston was introduced to the board, which applauded him for achieving a perfect score on the PSAT exam. Hicks said Preston plans to attend Harvard and eventually go to law school.

Also present were Joe Long, Thelma Ruth, Kenya Rounds, Eartha Johnson, Sandra Monroe, finance director Shawne Favre, project manager Sylvia Arcenaux-Ellison, and other King staff. Board members Gail Armant and Cora Charles were absent.

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