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

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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  • nickelndime

    Edison got a foothold in Louisiana, particularly in New Orleans, because of Paul Pastorek. If a nonprofit proposed a charter AND teamed up with Edison, the group’s proposal moved up the list rather quickly (National Association of Charter School Authorizers – NACSA). I mean, here we are looking at the State Superintendent of Education giving a particular nonprofit the nod. WWYD? I’d like to keep my job and keep that money flowing in the right direction. BESE and the State has moved on, but apparently the OPSB and Deputy Superintendent of Charter Schools, Kathleen Padian (behind the times AND counting on that and a divided board to keep her job – takes 5 votes to fire a superintendent) has not. The same thing happened with the Intercultural Charter School (ICS), but ousting Edison before getting State input/approval (well, that is like unforgivable, inexcusable, “out of control,” and armed and dangerous) sent the ICS group spiraling downward FAST, which meant it was in line for a takeover, i.e., State/RSD teaming up with Usdin’s New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) to fastrack the creation of yet another Charter Management Organization (CMO), as in the Einstein takeover. Not to worry, Padian put this (takeover) in front of the OPSB at its first board meeting, and all 7 voted for it. Is this like “The Magnificent Seven”?

  • nickelndime

    Who in the Hell is Logan Crowe (Wilson Principal)? Teach Louisiana LDOE website: “No records were found with your search parameters,” which means that Logan is not a certified administrator according to the LDOE and John White and the BESE president. Is this any way to run a state department of education d/b/a LDOE?!! And who in GAWD’s name (well, we are in New Orleans!) is Sister Juanita? From whence has she come and where do she returneth? She cometh as she goeth – leaving the public without a clue?!!

  • Nolaresident

    Geez, I’m almost afraid to comment because this one might get tossed as spam also. Anyway, Logan Crowe:

    >Wilson has a new principal this year: Logan Crowe,
    for 15 years head of the New Orleans Free School. Speaking to parents
    in the bright and airy cafeteria, he saluted the teachers staffing the
    open house.<

  • nickelndime

    O! Well that explains Logan Crowe (“we don’t need no education,” BESE, the LDOE, the RSD, or any governmental entity overseeing professional licensure/certifications in this state). Mr. Crowe serves as the principal of the RSD-Wilson School on the basis of what? Experience sans credentials? Mr. Crowe was head of the New Orleans Free School for 15 years. And, the status of the New Orleans Free School is what? And students’ academic scores looked like what? Careful now. I wouldn’t want your comment to end up as spam.