At a special meeting on April 29, The New Orleans Charter Schools Foundation voted to pursue a partnership with ReNEW Schools to run McDonogh City Park Academy starting in the 2015-16 school year.
At their regular meeting two weeks earlier, board members discussed presentations made by ReNEW and a rival management group, Crescent City Schools. A decision was deferred to the special meeting because three board members were absent.
The vote to partner with ReNEW was a vote of confidence, board president Jim Nelson said. The official decision will be tendered to the Board of Secondary and Elementary Education, Nelson explained.
The decision to partner with ReNEW relied heavily on the opinion of the staff and faculty of McDonogh City Park Academy. Ninety-five percent of them favored the partnership, assistant principal Shelia Hebert told the board at their April 15 meeting.
Staff explained their preference by citing the increased opportunities for professional development and the cohesiveness of the ReNEW group, Hebert said.
Board members expressed the view that both contenders were excellent organizations.
Board member Mary Kay Parker, who voted with the minority favoring a partnership with Crescent City Schools, declared that charter management organizations (CMOs) have had a positive impact on public education in New Orleans.
“As a citizen of New Orleans, it is encouraging to see so many CMOs in the city because all of the CMOs have really good things to offer the children of New Orleans. And I think both CMOs we are talking to offer exciting things for our kids and will continue the growth we have started,” Parker said.
In explaining her vote, Parker said she believes in Crescent City Schools chief executive Kate Mehok, sees the group’s academic performance as stronger than ReNEW’s and its management model as more sustainable.
Kevis Louis, McDonogh City Park’s dean of students, said at the April 15 meeting, “I appreciate hearing everyone’s opinion, because the students, staff and parents will be the ones most affected by this choice. I appreciate that you’re taking it so seriously, and putting so much thought into the decision.”
In other news, adjusted per-pupil revenues disbursed by the Orleans Parish School Board added $190,299 to McDonogh City Park’s assets in March and $235,385 in April. The board indicated it was pondering how best to spend the money.
Also, in keeping with its decision to reward good behavior rather than merely punish students who commit infractions, the school treated first- through fifth-grade students who received a B average or higher to field trips at the end of April, one to the Morris Bart Flight School, another to the New Orleans Pelicans Training Camp.
Vice principal Shelia Hebert was nominated School Leader of the Year on April 2, at the 2014 ANET Showcase.
The meeting began at 5:30 p.m. and ended at 8 p.m. Members present were Jim Nelson, Mike Plemmer, Mary Kay Parker, Mike Bagot, Lee Charbonnet, Lee Hampton. Absentees were Emily Waterfield, Jason Hughes, Monica Candal.
Kindergarten promotional exercises are at 9 a.m. May 14. The Eighth-Grade Recognition Ceremony is at 9 a.m. May 15, and the finance committee meets May 15, at 4:00 p.m.
The next board meeting is May 20.