Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans officials are looking for five students to fill in their kindergarten and first grade classes, board members announced at a meeting Monday.

The school has fallen short of its projected enrollment of 401 students, which could negatively affect the $3.7 million budget the school had planned around the projected student count.

At the meeting, Lycée Français’s new CEO, Keith Bartlett, said the low student count could cost the school up to $45,000 in lost revenue from per-pupil allocations.

“I’m scraping together everything I can,” Bartlett said, referring to sections of the school budget he was trying to trim, such as contract work for back-office tasks. “I’m trying to be frugal.”

During his report, Bartlett suggested that school officials bring some services in-house that they had previously been contracting out, such as website maintenance, fundraising, outreach and some communications work.

Bartlett said the school will be looking for two part-time employees to fill these positions.

“We need full-time positions, we just can’t afford it,” Bartlett said.

The CEO said he was looking for ways to save money with service providers, too. The linen supply company, for example, could be replaced with the school’s own purchased products, which would save Lycée Français about $1,200 a year.

Lastly, he reiterated “a plea to parents” to pay their consumable supply fees, for supplies shipped from France. About 25 percent of parents still hadn’t paid the dues, Bartlett announced at the meeting.

During the meeting, parents raised concerns about the shortage of students.

“If we’re $45,000 short in state funds why aren’t we paying advertising dollars to get some kids?” parent Paula Griffin asked.

Bartlett said Griffin raised a good point.

“That’s a valid concern,” Bartlett said. The school advertises only on its website that spots are still available, board members said.

Board member Erin Greenwald countered, however, that it was important to remember that school had already started, and any students Lycée Français got at this point would probably be coming from other schools.

“It’s a very delicate situation that we’re in,” Greenwald said. “It may be too late for kindergarten and first grade.”

Parent Darren Beltz brought up the question of home-schooled kids, however.

“I know a few parents who chose homeschool, who are maybe questioning that decision,” Beltz said, while encouraging the school to do more advertising for the spots.

During the meeting, the board voted to adopt a set schedule for future meetings. Board members also made public a list of goals to be completed by the end of the school year.

The board voted to adopt the eight goals and make them public on the Lycée Français website.

The goals include:

  • Adopt a long-term facilities plan

  • Establish measurable objectives for student achievement for a given year for both French and American curriculum and adopt a plan for monitoring such achievement

  • Adopt a plan to achieve French Baccalaureate accreditation

  • Establish a capital fund and a plan for growing the fund that includes efforts to encourage participation from all families

  • Adopt a long-range plan for direct hiring of French Baccalaureate certified teachers, including a plan to assist with obtaining visas for such teachers

  • Adopt an accurate and positive financial forcast for future years

  • Adopt and implement a growth plan for middle and high school

  • Implement a robust development plan to include aggressive efforts to obtain grant funding

The meeting lasted approximately an hour. Besides Greenwald, board members Tim Gray, Alysson Mills, Ann Meese, Courtney Garrett, Ben Castoriano and Mary Jacobs Jones were in attendance.

Della Hasselle

Della Hasselle, a freelance journalist and producer, reports environmental and criminal justice stories for The Lens. A graduate of Benjamin Franklin High School and the New Orleans Center for Creative...