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Budget surplus and rising test scores brighten meeting of ARISE network’s board

The ARISE Network Board, managers of ARISE Schools and Mildred Osborne Charter School, discussed academic gains, plans for development and their new financial windfall during their March 18 meeting.

Delayed payment of funds owed by the Orleans Parish School Board leaves the ARISE charter school network with a projected budget surplus of $706,981, chief operating officer, Tanya Lewis, reported at the board’s March meeting.

The surplus largely stems from $663,755 turned over by OPSB to cover underpayments in the 2010-2012 school years. The network governs ARISE Academy and Mildred Osborne Charter School.

“So we’re good, good as gravy,” Lewis said.

The board is pondering whether to spend the money on technology, curriculum resources or to shore up a rainy-day fund, Lewis said.

The board was provided an introduction to fundraising by Anne Normann, the network’s development director.

Candice Frazier, who chairs the board’s Academic Excellence Committee, briefed members on recent interim assessments of network schools using a test produced by Achievement First, a high-performing, high-poverty charter network in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island.

Frazier said she was happy to note that the kindergarteners out-performed their peers in Connecticut and Rhode Island in math. “This is the first time in our history that this has happened in any subject area,” she said.

Andrew Shahan*, chief executive of the ARISE network, also expressed optimism:  “The data is going up, whereas this time last year it was going down.”

Shahan outlined plans for teacher retention, but said he anticipates few faculty changes at either school in the coming year. “There should be no surprises,” Shahan  said.

And with no options currently available, the school expects to stay on next year in the building now shared with shared Homer A. Plessy Community School, Shahan said.

*As originally published, the article misstated Shahan’s name. 

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  • The CEO of ARISE is Andrew Shahan, not Andrew Sullivan:

  • nickelndime

    ARISE: Does it really matter what the CEO’s name is? We are not really working with facts, now are we? Surely you realize how messed up this city is regarding the functioning of nonprofit charter broads (I mean boards) that oversee these charter schools. Why, Leslie is turning over in her grave, as we speak…O my bad, Leslie is still alive and out on the 9th. “Good as gravy”? Well yeah, that speaks volumes to me, financially and educationally. How about you?

  • Q: Does it really matter what the CEO’s name is?
    A: Yes.

    Q: We are not really working with facts, now are we?
    A: We are working with facts.

    Q: “Good as gravy”? Well yeah, that speaks volumes to me, financially and educationally. How about you?

    A: No, it does not speak volumes to me.

  • nickelndime

    ARISE: It certainly doesn’t sound to me that Andrew and Tanya have as “…good, good as gravy” grip on what is going on at that shared site with the OPSB’s Homer A. Plessy School, as they both say, or what they are spoon-feeding its board. But hey, that’s the board’s responsibility, and if it cannot fulfill its responsibilites academically and financially, then I would say that the RSD is not doing its job either.

  • James Matthews

    What exactly is going on?

  • nickelndime

    ARISE: What is wrong? For one thing, the previous SPS was 78.6. It went down to 72.5. For another thing, it would NOT appear that ARISE actually met the criteria to upgrade its status to a Charter Management Organization (CMO) and then take over a failing RSD school. But the RSD gave it the go ahead anyway. This is not an isolated instance. The RSD has been doing this for quite some time and parleys federal grant money by partnering with USDOE- and LDOE-favored nonprofits like New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO). The RSD refers to organizations like ARISE as high achieving. That is hardly the case. I also find fault with the development of “tests” by other charter management organizations, which are then used to make their populations look enhanced. So, what are the statistics behind the development of these tests (such as those developed by Achievement First) anyway? Summarily, it does NOT appear that the CEO of this ARISE network, or its CFO, or its Development Director (or any of these non-classroom individuals who, IMHO, are being paid according to an excessive, inflated salary schedule) actually know how to interpret the data, much less provide a strong academic environment for at-risk students in New Orleans. [“…good, good as gravy”] doesn’t cut it for me. And this is for starters. I have barely touched the surface here.