Charter Schools

Dryades Y/Singleton school have $1.09 million deficit

The Dryades YMCA and the James M. Singleton Charter School ended the 2012-13 fiscal year with a combined deficit of more than $1.09 million, according to a recent financial report.

Both organizations are overseen by the same board, Dryades YMCA-James M. Singleton Charter School Board of Directors.

A consolidated budget statement passed out during a board meeting Tuesday showed that the charter school is in the red for $848,735.99 of that amount. The Dryades YMCA’s deficit made up the rest.

During the meeting, at least one board member seemed surprised and concerned about the amount of money the organization had been spending.

“How did we let ourselves get to this point?” asked former councilman and board member James M. Singleton.

Chief Financial Officer Catrina Reed said the deficit had accumulated over the past three years, mostly due to lost funding for programs that the organization still continued to provide for the public.

“We’ve been wanting to do the same things without the same funding,” Reed said. “We wanted to do it for the good of the community.”

Board Chairman H. Kenneth Johnston added that the board had done “a number of things” to scale back in order to balance the budget, such as reduce weekend hours for some of the organization’s programs and use existing staff to accomplish multiple goals rather than hire new staff.

“We looked for any fat in the budget that we can trim,” Johnston said.

If the organization continues to have budget problems, Johnston added that board members would have to take a more aggressive approach to getting the deficit down.

“We can’t be all things to all people,” Johnston said. “So we may have to make hard decisions about what we’re going to cut. It may come to a point where a lot of services that we render we may have to eliminate.”

Among others, the Dryades YMCA hosts the 21st Century Learning Center, an enrichment program designed to help inner-city youth better prepare for secondary schools and a Saturday Academy that helps kids with standardized test preparation. Dryades YMCA also hosts Midnight Basketball, a series of professional development workshops and basketball competitions designed to keep people between 17and 24 off of the street.

In the meantime, board members are also hoping for higher membership at the Natatorium and Wellness Center, which opened recently and currently serves more than 200 members in Central City.

Singleton students have access to the YMCA wellness center, which is funded solely by membership dues.

In order for the center to break even, the wellness center would have to take in about $15,000 a month, Reed said. Right now, membership dues total about $5,000.

Principal Debra Robertson also said that school officials are hoping for a higher enrollment in Singleton this year. The school currently has 569 students, and 529 without counting pre-kindergarten. School officials budgeted for 600 students.

In other news, the board voted to amend a pupil progression plan to reflect changes in the grading scale.

Under the new grading scale, any score between 60 to 69 is an “F,” rather than a score of 60 to 66.

A “D” is any score between 70 to 74; a “C” falls between 75 and 83; a score of 84 to 91 is a “B” and anywhere between 92 and 100 is considered an “A.”

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