Enrollment expected to rise by 100 as Encore adds classes and moves to new campus

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Along with a new building, Encore Academy will gain about 100 students in the 2014-15 school year, officials said at a public hearing on the projected budget, May 21.

Officials presented a balanced budget for the arts-oriented charter school, with expenses and revenue totaling around $4.7 million.

The school is counting on per-pupil state revenues commensurate with a total enrollment of 417 students in kindergarten through seventh grade. The pre-kindergarten program expects 40 students.

In the 2013-14 school year, the school’s enrollment for K-7 was around 315. Next year, the school will add classes in second and sixth grade, and current sixth-grade students will become the school’s first seventh-grade class.

Officials have yet to learn exactly how much rent will be charged for a new campus in the St. Roch neighborhood.

The $500,000 budgeted for rent was described by financial consultant Rachel Holman, of 4th Sector Solutions, as “just a complete estimate based on things being a little bit unknown for the facilities next year.”

The Washington, D.C.-based Charter School Development Corp. is providing initial financing for the $4.9 renovation project and will own the building. The lease includes a purchase option if the school eventually is able to buy it.

The new campus is the 2.7-acre site that formerly housed John A. Shaw Elementary School, near the corner of Music and Arts streets.

Officials said plans to open the new facility in time for the 2014-15 school year remain on track.

Officials said there were no complaints about the school at a public meeting held in March. The meeting was required as part of the process for securing a conditional-use permit for the new building.

Demolition is slated to begin at the end of the month, and the renovation should take about 60 days, officials said.

The budget itemizes the following capital improvements:

  • $114,000 for new furniture
  • $97,000 for technology upgrades including new smart boards, a new copier and classroom computers
  • $5,000 for a security system

A final vote on the budget is scheduled at the board’s June meeting.

Board members Herb Patterson, Kesana Durand, Frances Montegut, Demetrix Tolliver and John Suarez attended the hearing. Charmaine Robinson, Ashleigh Bergeron and Linda Launey were absent.

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