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Interest in Bricolage likely to outstrip available seats; fundraiser set for this month

Bricolage Academy, just halfway through its first year, has received more applications for next year than it’s likely will be able to accommodate, the governing board learned at its recent monthly meeting.

CEO Josh Densen reported the school received 103 applications for kindergarten as of Dec. 20.  Twelve new families applied for first grade, Densen told the board Jan. 9.

“We don’t anticipate having that kind of availability,” he said.

The school started this year with 75 kindergarteners, and it plans to add a grade each year. So it’s planning to double in size when first grade is added in August.

The school is housed at Touro Synagogue, though the charter has no religious affiliation. Such arrangements are not unusual for charters looking to rent a relatively small space.  Densen said he is negotiating with Touro to extend the lease for the 2014-15 school year.

“We are close to an agreement that will allow us to continue to operate here,” Densen said.  “The lease agreement is the same except the rental rate and the number of rooms we’ll be renting.”

The size of the classrooms will not allow 25 students in each class for first grade, Densen said.  Instead, Densen plans to divide first grade into four sections with 18 to 20 students each.

“It will be more expensive that way, but we’ll have smaller class sizes,” Densen said.

When school expands again for the 2015-16 school year, it will need a bigger space, Densen said.

“That’s part of the urgency of agreeing on a lease for next year now,” Densen said. “That allows us immediately to work on finding a [longer-term location] in 2015.”

Finance and operations director Ashley Beckner reported the school is in a good financial position and projects to have a surplus of $424,493 at the end of the school year. The school was also about $67,000 under its operating budget at the end of November, according to a financial report presented by Beckner.

Board members voted to change their monthly meeting schedule. Previously, they met on the last Thursday of the every month. They will now meet every other month on the first Wednesday.  The new board meeting dates this school year will be Feb. 5, April 2, and June 4.  All board meetings are at 6 p.m. except Feb. 5 when the board will meet at 8 a.m.

The new schedule was proposed by board chairman Alan Philipson.

“We were not seeing enough actionable items to meet monthly,” Philipson said.  “We are doing this with the understanding that we have an executive committee that can meet when necessary, and we will call an emergency meeting if something unforeseen occurs that needs to be discussed.”

The board also voted to adopt a whistleblower policy that all board members must sign to be in compliance with law.  Board members approved the drafted document and signed it at the meeting.

Board members discussed an upcoming fundraising event organized by student’s parents.  The event will be held at The Rusty Nail on Jan. 23.  Densen said The Rusty Nail will donate 20  percent of its happy-hour sales to the school.

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