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Sci Academy ‘captains’ to track students through college

Starting this year, Sci Academy seniors designated as “College Captains” will help to track their classmates through college in an effort to quantify and support student success. The pilot program partners New Orleans College Prep schools and Sci Academy.

“We can’t always stay in touch with kids, but their friends almost always can. This is going to be really important as the alumni body grows to the size of our current student body,” said Ben Marcovitz, CEO Collegiate Academies, which operates Sci Academy.

At a Collegiate Academies board meeting Wednesday night, Marcovitz admitted that they haven’t found the best way to track student success after high school graduation and hopes this program can help ensure that the students they prepare for college can stay enrolled.

Doug Finegan, treasurer for the charter management organization, said Collegiate Academies finished the year with a budget surplus of $277,000, about $111,000 more than it had forecast at the beginning of last year. Finegan said they had overestimated the cost of some expenses, and the difference helped boost them further into the black.

Finegan also reported that the cost of the annual audit would rise this year because of the increase in schools and students. Carr Riggs Ingram, the accounting firm that Collegiate Academies has hired for the past two years, listed a price of $25,000 on their engagement letter this year. Finegan was unsure what the exact cost had been in previous years, but said that each school currently budgets $2,500 for financial services, or a total of $7,500 for the three schools that Collegiate Academies oversees.

Chief Operating Officer Riley Kennedy said the firm is still cheaper than bids they’d received from other auditors several years ago. Finegan and board member William Langenstein agreed that the price was fair given the size of the organization and that bidding out a new firm this late in the year could set them back financially.

The board voted to approve a pupil progression plan from the state, outlining what credits and courses needed to be passed in order to graduate. Marcovitz clarified that the plan would be almost identical for all schools because the credit requirements to graduate in the state of Louisiana are the same for all high schools, but that each charter was responsible for completing the document as “a vestige of autonomy.”

The next board meeting will be Sept. 18 at the Collegiate Academies campus. All board members were present except for Lisa Daggs who listened by phone.


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