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Building issues stymie Audubon charter

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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About 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 Arts, Hasselle lived in New York for 10 years. While up north, she produced and anchored news segments, wrote feature stories and reported breaking news for, a hyperlocal news site. Before that, she worked at the New York Daily News. She obtained her master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She can be reached at (917) 304-6121.

  • nickelndime

    The Audubon BOD should send a letter to the OPSB thru Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schools Kathleen Padian and ask for a waiver to serve alcohol during school hours. Janice will not like it, but then Janice likes her job better, so what the who. After a few drink$, no one will care where the students are or what kind of buildings they are in because they are a wholesome lot and they come from wholseome stock anyway, and they are being served academically better than about 98% of the city’s poor.

  • Penguin

    Yeah…no. The Audubon Board really needs to get in the face of the OPSB and have them explain why other schools (namely one that starts with an L) seem to always take precedence over Audubon getting a site that actually does NOT have ceilings falling in. I think by the time my son graduates 8th (in 2 years), they still won’t have a home.

  • nickelndime

    Ah, Penguin – you are a girl after my heart. Thank you! What is the “face” of the OPSB? It is hard to actually tell (who represents Uptown?Audubon – well, therein may lie the problem – Seth Bloom, Woody Koppel, Nolan Marshal, #3), and then there is a Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schoools who is more interested in herself and job rather than charter school interests. Speak up. The squeaking wheel gets the grease, my dear. I suggest that you email the OPSB and cc: Padian and complain the hell out of them. They do look at their emails – they may not answer you, but they do read those emails. LOL and rolling on da floor.

  • nickelndime

    And oh yeah, Penguin. Janice is NOT Kathy. Dat’s it.