McDonogh City Park Academy could leave state teachers pension system

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As of its November meeting, McDonogh City Park Academy’s board of directors hadn’t decided if they will move teachers from the state-run Teachers Retirement System of Louisiana or offer 403(b) accounts, which are tax-sheltered accounts for education and nonprofit employees similar to 401(k) accounts.

The school’s charter is up for renewal at the end of December. The board hasn’t decided whether to join a charter-management organization for the 2015-16 school year or remain a standalone school.

The decision on joining a charter management organization probably will determine if the school continues with the state pension system or shifts to 403(b) accounts.

The school’s board was told the school actually had 447, not 446, students, enrolled as of Oct. 1, which is what the state’s per-pupil funding is based on.

McDonogh City Park Academy was chosen to pilot online testing with its 5th graders for the Common Core testing in March 2014. Board members agreed that the school has enough computers and wireless capabilities for the pilot program, but they were worried that the school will not have the technological capacity for the 2014-15 school year when the entire school is tested.

Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which has developed the tests, suggests that schools have a computer for every five students and a back-up Internet service provider in case service goes out during testing. McDonogh City Park Academy has about 90 computers.

The meeting lasted about 90 minutes. New board member Jason Hughes, governmental affairs director for Stand for Children Louisiana, was introduced to the board.

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