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.