ARISE Academy board members gave their CEO the go-ahead to finalize pre-kindergarten funding and sign leases for two buildings for the new school year, which starts in three weeks.

The board authorized Andrew Shahan, who recently rose from school leader to chief executive officer, to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Recovery School District giving ARISE 80 pre-kindergarten slots to split between the two schools.

ARISE recently doubled in size when the non-profit took over Mildred Osborne Charter School. Osborne formerly housed Pride College Prep, but Pride’s charter was not renewed last year.

Board members also authorized Shahan to sign leases for both Osborne and ARISE’s temporary facility with the RSD.

Osborne is a brand new building located on the 6700 block of Curran Boulevard — a stark contrast to ARISE’s decades-old facility that board members couldn’t help but observe as they met at the new facility for the first time Wednesday.

 Last year ARISE held classes in the Dr. Charles Drew Elementary School on St. Claude Avenue. But that building was slated for renovations this year, so ARISE was assigned to the Douglass Building, which, conveniently, is directly across the street from Drew.

 However, summer renovations at the Douglass Building have already delayed Shahan’s ideal timeline. While everything is moved into the Douglass building already, teachers and staff don’t have access to it yet.

 “We’re really not going to be able to do a whole lot in that building until July 29,” said Shahan. “And school starts Aug. 7.”

 On top of that, Sewerage and Water Board data recently revealed the building’s water meter measured more than 40 million gallons of water last year, more than twice that of the next highest use of any other city school building.

 Tiffany Delcour, chief of staff for operations with the RSD, told The Lens earlier this week that officials are looking into the high usage but that they do not yet know the exact cause of the leaks. If the problem is a capital repair, RSD will be responsible for the fix, Delcour said.

 The board also authorized Shahan to sign a memorandum of understanding with the RSD for a reimbursement for moving services. The school can receive up to $15,000 for moving costs he said.

 When ARISE finally does begin school in the Douglass building it will share the building with Homer A. Plessy Community School.

 Plessy is in its first year of operation and Shahan said he was happy to help out the young charter by offering up extra space in the building.

 Shahan said Plessy will sign a lease with the RSD and a memorandum of understanding with ARISE. Plessy will use the same vendors as ARISE, he added.

 The board recessed to executive session to discuss Shahan’s performance. The closed-door session lasted roughly 40 minutes and no action items resulted from it.

The board will hold a retreat Saturday at Osborne.

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...