Bricolage board passes $1.4 million budget for first year of operation

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A little more than one month before Bricolage Academy of New Orleans is set to open its doors for the first time, the school’s board passed its first budget Thursday night.

The $1.4 million spending plan provides funding for 75 kindergarteners in the Orleans Parish School Board charter’s inaugural class, which will hear its first bell in the halls of Touro Synagogue on Aug. 19.

School Leader Josh Densen told board members that 70 students are enrolled now, but 75 are expected by the time school opens.

The school has offered admission to five additional students. Even if those students don’t accept, the school has about 20 more on a waiting list, and could additionally turn to students who have chosen Bricolage in rounds two and three of the OneApp enrollment process.

“I really don’t see a scenario where we have less than 75,” Densen said.

Densen, whose son will be a member of the school’s first class, founded the school with input from families aimed at preparing students in lower grade levels for the changing economy.

The school, which employs 14 full- and part-time teachers, is aiming to have all materials and facilities ready to go by Aug. 1, providing 18 days to work out any remaining issues, Densen said. The school leader said he would’ve taken board members on a tour of the building, if they “weren’t shampooing the carpets.”

“Right now they are empty, but they look beautiful,” he said of the classrooms.

The school held a budget hearing July 2. The biggest change to the budget since that hearing was the Academy’s initial transportation contract. The contract was negotiated down from $450 a day to $400 day. The school will use a mix of buses and vans to transport students who request the service.

“Anything we’ve done to alleviate that is really good,” said board member Jeff Teague, noting the hefty costs of transportation expenses for many schools.

The budget leaves about $10,000 in excess funds to carry over to the following school year, and includes a $94,000 reserve.

During a discussion of the finance committee’s goals for the next year, board members noted the need to create a policy around the reserve funds, so they can be put toward long-term goals, such as finding a new building for the school.

“We’ve got an advantage…that we don’t have to put in too much depreciation,” since the school is new, board chair Alan Phillipson said.

The Bricolage board will hold its next meeting Aug. 15, four days before the beginning of the new school year.

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