Algiers Charter School Association considers takeover of Milestone Sabis

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Unhappy with its current operator, the board of directors at Milestone Sabis Academy of New Orleans is looking to join another charter organization next school year, according to Algiers Charter Schools Association CEO Adrian Morgan.

He said ACSA has strongly considered taking over leadership from Sabis, the current Lebanon-based charter operator.

Milestone Sabis, a kindergarten through 10th grade school, is currently located in Jefferson Parish. As a Type 2 charter it could enroll students or move to any parish in Louisiana.

Morgan said he would not move the school outside Orleans or Jefferson Parish, including the Algiers area. Milestone Sabis has a one-year lease on its current facility on 2012 Jefferson Hwy.

The board voted to allow Morgan to negotiate with Milestone to operate the school in the fall, but stopped short of allowing negotiations for a full management takeover. Morgan said the organization has the full support of the Recovery School District.

It is unclear if the Milestone board would remain in place, or if the ACSA board would assume full responsibility for the new school. Morgan said he hopes to have an agreement with Milestone in place by the next board meeting on June 26.

Board member Nicole Sheppard voted against moving forward with negotiations to run Milestone Sabis, saying she wasn’t sure it was the best use of her organization’s time and resources.

Board member D’Juan Hernandez abstained from the vote because his law firm, The Higgins Law Firm, currently represents Milestone.

Louisiana currently rates Milestone as a D school. It has three years left in its charter contract. Morgan said its current budget shows that it has $500,000 in reserves, although its financial liabilities are unknown.

Morgan also announced that the state renewed the charters for three Algiers Charter School Association schools. The charters for McDonogh 32 Literacy Charter School and William J. Fischer Accelerated Academy were extended five years. L.B. Landry-O.P Walker College and Career Preparatory High School received a 10-year extension, the maximum.

“I want to thank the board for believing in our children enough to unify, and thank you for believing enough in me, trusting me enough to go forward with something that has proven to be a turning point in my career,” said Landry-Walker principal Mary Laurie.*

 Hernandez said the Orleans Parish School District has signed a letter of intent with the owner of the Opelousas Avenue site where ACSA plans to build a new Martin Behrman Charter School Academy of Creative Arts and Sciences.

The board also voted to approve the upcoming school year’s academic, school support center and board of trustees calendars.

*Correction: This story originally reported that Mary Laurie is principal at Berhman, but she’s at Landry-Walker. (June 4, 2014)

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