Einstein board considers line of credit, establishing separate fundraising board

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The Einstein Group’s Governance and Finance Committee convened last week to discuss strategies for maintaining the school’s current favorable financial position.

Einstein Charter School Principal and CEO Shawn Toranto said she wanted to apply for an unsecured line of credit to be used for capital expenses.

“You never know when that line of credit will come in as a necessity,” Toranto said.

Treasurer Doug Guidry agreed, saying, “A line of credit is good to have. It’s always better to have one set up if and when you are going to need it. We haven’t had to go to that extent.”

“Nor do we intend to,” Toranto interjected.

Because Einstein has had a stable cash balance at Liberty Bank for “quite some time,” Guidry said he did not foresee any problem obtaining the line of credit.

Board Vice President Laurin Jacobsen said she wants more information before asking the full board to approve the application.

Next, Daniel Davis, Einstein’s development director, led a discussion on establishing a separate fundraising board, a subject first broached at Einstein’s board retreat in December.

Davis reiterated the advantages of a separate board, including that such a board would not be subject to public-meetings laws. Board member Zachary Wool questioned this claim, reasoning that any board overseen by Einstein’s board of directors would have similar legal constraints.

Furthermore, if the fundraising board were not overseen by the board of directors, that could result in governance problems down the road if the two boards were to clash, Wool said.

Jacobsen questioned the assumption that another board could better raise money.

“How is [a separate fundraising board] going to make it easier to get larger gifts rather than just donating directly to the school as it is?”

The board’s other activities included a discussion about membership in a “board bank” to recruit potential members. A planned agenda item on board self-review was postponed due to the absence of Board President Ryan Bennett.

Toranto, Guidry, Jacobsen, and Davis were the sole attendees of the meeting, which began at 5:40 Jan. 21 and ended at 6:13 p.m. The next meeting will be of the full board Feb. 4, at 6 p.m. at the Michoud campus.

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