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Collegiate Academies approve $10.9 million budget for 2013-14

The governing board for Collegiate Academies on Wednesday approved a $10.9 million budget for the 2013-14 school year.

The budget, which anticipates total revenues growing 22 percent over the current year’s budget, outlines planned spending Sci Academy, George Washington Carver Collegiate Academy and George Washington Carver Preparatory Academy.

It is based on a total enrollment at all schools of 870 students with an anticipated per-pupil amount of $8,341. That’s compared with 606 students in the 2012-13 budget.

The board expects to see a surplus of $266,283 — just about 2 percent — leaving little room for error in the coming fiscal year.

Board treasurer Doug Finegan said the charter organization plans to monitor this surplus by requiring that any school or department going over budget to report to the finance committee so that a formal request to amend the budget could be brought before the board.

Finegan said it will be important to keeping a close eye on the budgeted amounts versus the actual costs incurred throughout the year.

Finegan said having all Collegiate Academies schools on one campus will help to lower costs this year.

Both Carver campuses will move to the current Sci Academy location while a permanent school building is constructed on their current location. This move helped lower per-pupil transportation costs from roughly $1,400 per student last year to $1,000 this year Finegan said.

The consolidated campus has also lead to economies of scale in support staff, many of which have been moved from contracted employees to salaried employees.

The change is partially responsible for the 30 percent, $1.3 million bump in salary expenditures and the $16,197 drop in professional services.

Salary expenses have generally risen as enrollment has increased. Professional services as a whole are also anticipated to increase as the special education budget grows and more money is allocated for professional development to cover Teach for America fees.

Also Wednesday:

The board at first lacked a quorum.

School excellence committee chair Salmon Shomade gave members an academic update as they waited for enough members to arrive to constitute a legal meeting of the full board.

Shomade said that ACT scores improved from an average of 17.4 at the beginning of last June 2012 to an average of 19.1 in June 2013. The class of 2013 saw 78 percent of graduating seniors accepted to a four-year college and 22 percent accepted to two-year schools.

Founding board chairman Susan Norwood announced that she would be stepping down as chair, passing the duty to fellow founding board member Diana Lewis.

Lewis will serve one year as the board chair.

The board also accepted the resignation of board member Dana Henry who cited “family as well as business obligations” as the reason for his resignation.

Henry served on the board prior to launching an unsuccessful run for New Orleans City Council. He resigned last year to campaign and then rejoined the board afterward. His attendance at Collegiate Academies has been spotty over the last few months.

When board member Jonathan Wilson arrived about a half-hour into the meeting, the board finally reached a quorum required by law for a board to meet and vote.

That was when they approved the budget and a new technology policy.

They then entered into executive session for about 15 minutes discuss the contract of CEO Ben Marcovitz, but took no action after they emerged other than to adjourn the meeting.

Susan Norwood, Diana Lewis, Doug Finegan, Salmon Shomade and Jonathan Wilson were present at the meeting. Board member Lisa Daggs attended by phone. Several Collegiate Academies staff also attended the meeting.

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