Wilson School directors shell out $400,000 to sever all ties with for-profit manager

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The board of Andrew Wilson Charter School has cut a $400,000 check to EdisonLearning, in the hope that this settles all differences and terminates relations with the for-profit company that once ran the school.

Irregularities in the school’s bookkeeping fed dissatisfaction with Edison, but the settlement agreement states that the payment is being made “purely for purposes of amicably resolving this dispute, and without any admission of liability,” Wilson’s directors — Broadmoor Charter School Board — were told at their Feb. 4 monthly meeting.

“The payment terms were $400,000 and the check has been sent for the full amount,  but they haven’t cashed it yet,” Darius Munchak, Wilson’s operations manager, said.

In presenting the school’s annual audit, the Carr, Riggs & Ingram accounting firm declared the school’s finances “drastically better” than in previous years, with $215,769 in net assets, compared with 2012’s deficit of $410.824.

Revenues increased significantly, from $5,702,713 in 2012 to $6,830,559 in 2013, auditors stated.

“Much of this is attributed to Darius getting reimbursements in on time,” board president David Winkler-Schmit said. “I think in the past year we have put things in place to be more diligent,” he added.

The school is improving heating and cooling systems, to save money on the energy bill, board member Will Bradshaw added.

Improvements by Siemens have already reduced the school’s Entergy bill by $9,200 and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 130,000 pounds, Bradshaw said.

The board agreed to continue the energy-efficiency work for the rest of the year.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of longtime member Sister Juanita Chenevert. “It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that Sister Juanita will be leaving. She was a strong board member and a giving volunteer, almost full-time,” Winkler-Schmit said.

The board voted to accept the nomination of Geneva Marney to succeed Sister Juanita.

The school band will march in eight Carnival parades this season, principal Logan Crowe reported.

In comments on academic performance, Crowe said reading skills have improved over the past few months, thanks to use of the Fountas and Pinnell diagnostic program. It identifies challenges faced by individual students and provides strategies for overcoming problems.

“Our goal is that the reading growth continues— keeps moving students higher and higher,” Crowe said.

The school’s gala was days away as the board met. The goal was to raise enough money to send 25 students to Washington, D.C. The school needed $25,000 in order to send the kids on the trip, and had already raised $17,000. Proceeds from the gala were not immediately available.

“It’s a really good cause because for some kids it will be their first time out of the state, and even out of the city,” Winkler-Schmit said.

In addition to Winkler-Schmit and Bradshaw, board members Eric Griggs, Ross Anderson and James Baker were present. Chenevert, Nancy Marshall and Kristyna Jones were absent.

The meeting started at 6:40 p..m. and adjourned at 8 p.m. The next meeting will be Feb. 25.

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