Building issues stymie Audubon charter

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Officials at Audubon Charter School are still navigating building issues as they prepare to continue with a delayed move to the former site of McDonogh 7 on Milan Street.

Audubon’s Uptown campus was scheduled to move into the old McDonogh 7 building at the start of this school year as a “swing location” until the school gets a permanent location. Currently the campus is housed at  719 S. Carrollton Ave.

But at the end of last year, the discovery of lead paint in the McDonogh 7 campus delayed the school’s move. While Orleans Parish School Board officials didn’t give a set date, it was estimated that teachers would start packing their boxes towards the middle of the 2013-14 school year.

In the meantime, a hodge-podge of structural problems was discovered, threatening to delay the school’s move until even later. According to an update presented to the school’s board of directors on Saturday, a lead-abatement project was underway in attempts to resolve the issue at the Milan Street campus.

But structural work has yet to be completed.

Additionally, school officials were at odds with the Orleans Parish School Board over details of the move to Milan Street, according to the operations report.

“OPSB stated in a conference call that they would not pay to move any of Audubon’s technology (including packed computers and printers),” the report stated. “We believe that since OPSB is forcing the move they should be responsible for paying for all items to be moved, including technology.”

In the meantime, the report stated that a Broadway renovation meeting is scheduled for Oct. 28, in anticipation of a permanent move to the campus on 428 Broadway this summer.

Currently, the school has two campuses — the one in Carrollton and one in Gentilly, located at 6101 Chatham Drive. The Gentilly campus will move into the Broadway location when it’s finished.

According to operations manager Alisa Dupre, however, the school’s fourth through eighth grades, which moved into the Carrollton campus after Hurricane Katrina, don’t  have a permanent location after McDonogh 7.

“There really isn’t a plan, that we’re aware of,” Dupre told The Lens.

As the Broadway campus is being renovated, the temporary location in Gentilly for pre-kindergarten through third grade has gotten repairs, too. A facilities report from Saturday indicated that roof repairs at the Gentilly campus have been made.

An audit report given for the fiscal year ending in June 2013 also came back clean. According to the report, the school received about $7.4 million in revenue, and spent about $7.3 million in expenses, leaving the school with $98,741 in surplus.

The school ended the fiscal year with net assets of about $2.8 million.

September financial statements show that the school ended the month with a deficit of $101,749, but that there was still an ending fund balance of about $3.3 million.

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