Despite opposition from Principal Janice A. Dupuy and Board Chairman Cornelius Tilton, Audubon Charter School’s board of directors voted Saturday to allow alcohol to be served during the school’s major fall fundraiser.
The school’s Fall Fête fundraiser is slated for Oct. 5 at the Carrollton Campus. The annual fundraiser features music, food and games for kids.
And now, for the first time in years, the school will be allowed to serve beer and wine to adults in booths located outside the school gates.
“I’m opposed to it,” Dupuy said before the vote was taken Saturday. “My main objection is that it is tied to the school.”
Dupuy said that Audubon has “a history,” including one instance where a security guard had to forcefully stop a parent from entering school grounds. She didn’t want a repeat of any past uncomfortable conflicts, especially any related to alcohol, Dupuy added.
She also had concerns about staff imbibing on school grounds.
“I would not want the student body to see our teachers drinking at school,” Dupuy said.
Board member Jacqueline Smith also was vocal about her concerns.
“I think there are liabilities,” Smith said. “I think its an unnecessary risk for us to take. There are other events for adults to do adult things.”
Todd Taylor, the President of the Friends of Audubon Parent-Teachers Organization, countered with the argument that there were several benefits to serving wine and beer at the function.
“There’s a two-purpose goal,” Taylor said. “Fall Fest is the biggest fundraiser of the year, so it’s to generate revenue. But it’s also a cultural and social opportunity for the school.”
Taylor estimated that the revenue could total as much as $1,500 in beer and wine sales this year, and more in the future if the school allowed it in subsequent years. He pointed to Lusher Charter School as an example, which has historically provided wine and beer at its annual Crawfish Boil.
The PTO president also said the alcohol would be served in a controlled setting. He promised additional security and a separately purchased liability policy.
Taylor also said that the parents would be required to consume the alcohol outside of school gates, and that they would have to wear a wristband noting the number of drinks adults consumed. He added that parents would be cut off after four purchases.
“We’re accepting the liability,” Taylor said, referring to the PTO. Although he hadn’t run the proposal by the entire organization by Saturday’s meeting, he said that generally the parents had been asking for the services.
Parent Corinne Gibb confirmed that.
“We’ve had a lot of parents asking for it,” Gibb told the board. “It’s because the school could make lots of money. That’s the reason we should have it. If that’s what the body wants, that’s what the body wants.”
Ultimately, four board members voted to allow the drinks to be served. Two — Smith and Tilton — voted against it.
At the meeting, Tilton also announced that board member Teddi Locke is resigning.
Tilton read out loud a letter thanking Locke for her services at the school. The letter highlighted her work with the school’s Montessori program. Locke has long been involved with Montessori education, and currently serves as the Director of the University Montessori School, located on Burthe Street.
“Those are not just words, but my heartfelt sentiments,” Tilton said after reading the letter.
The board voted to accept her resignation.
In other news, a financial report showed that the school’s budget is expected to increase by nearly $300,000 due to increased per-pupil revenue.
Audubon presented its $6.9 million budget in May.
When the roll was called at about 10:15, board Vice Chairman Derek D. Bardell was absent, as were board members Shawn Barney and Robert Sloan.