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OPSB angling to buy vacant lot adjacent to Warren Easton; chillers to be replaced

School facilities and fundraising dominated discussion as board of Warren Easton Charter High School met March 19.

The Orleans Parish School Board is negotiating to buy a vacant lot next to the school to use as green space, board president David Garland said. The space could also be used for sports, cheerleading, and the marching band, Garland said.

“We’re in the process of negotiating a final price on that,” he said, estimating it will  be several months before a deal can be completed.

OPSB will also be replacing the school’s chiller units, which were damaged by brackish water during Hurricane Katrina. Annual repair costs have grown to $80,000, prompting full replacement, he said.

Garland lauded OPSB, which leases the building to Warren Easton, for taking responsibility for the units, as well as recent window replacements. Because the school was not currently in line for capital improvements, he said it was great that OPSB was doing important maintenance on the 100-year-old building.

He declared the facility to be in “pretty darn good shape.”

Garland reminded the board of its most significant funding issue: finding money to pay for the school’s health clinic. The clinic, administered by Tulane Health Services, serves both students and staff, and also features dental services. Garland said the yearly cost of the program would be $150,000 for Warren Easton.

“It’s March. We’ve got to get this in place for August, some kinda of way,” Garland said.  “We’ll get it done… It keeps them in school. It keeps them healthy. It keeps them learning.”

Member Timolynn Sams advised fellow members that the school should produce promotional materials and messaging that connects the clinic to academic performance.

Principal Alexina Medley, in her report to the board, said that school’s lottery was completed successfully. She said that the school had received just over 600 applications, accepted 250 students and had a 50-student waiting list. Warren Easton’s current enrollment is 944 students, close to its 960-student capacity.

Also present in addition to Garland and Sams were board members Charley Petrey, David Benelli, Brenda Christiansen, Billy Hatchett, Sal Genovese, and Arthur Hardy. Members David Napoleon and John Broussard were absent.

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