It will cost $30 million to bring students to and from public schools this year, compared to $18 million the year before Katrina. The increase appears to be a consequence of citywide enrollment and the shift from a centrally-run school system. A few schools are working together to negotiate busing contracts.
Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School, Inc.
Four of the Recovery School District’s failing schools will not reopen next year. In most cases, those students will be at other substandard schools. About three-quarters of students leaving Abramson Elementary James Weldon Johnson Elementary are headed to schools graded F or T, which are failing schools that are under new operators. The exception: Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School students, who were offered preference in RSD’s enrollment process.
For students at four New Orleans schools, the end of the school year means the end of their school. Such closures are part of a plan to pare down the number of schools in a smaller city. Critics say the lack of stability hurt students; accountability advocates say it’s better than letting them languish.
The Ben Mays Preparatory Board of Directors is seeking pro-bono legal advice in its fight to keep the neighborhood school open beyond the end of the school year. The Recovery School District will recommend not renewing the school’s charter due to consistently low school performance scores, board members said during the Nov.
The response from Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory Schools’ board members to a presentation of state standardized test scores at the June 4 monthly meeting can be summed up in two words: “What happened?”
“It was shocking to me,” said member Jenny Hunter. “I didn’t see it coming.”
“We were doing what we needed to do,” said member Raashand Hamilton, who works closely with Principal Shanda Gentry on the Academic Excellence Committee. More than 40 percent of fourth-graders got an unsatisfactory score in English, and more than 50 percent of them received the same in math. In the fifth grade, more than 60 percent of students received an unsatisfactory score in English. More than 50 percent of fifth-grade students received the same in math.
Directors of the Benjamin Mays Preparatory School say they’re in the dark when it comes to anticipating operating costs they’ll face next semester after taking over the building formerly occupied by Frantz Elementary. That revelation was part of the discussion of next year’s budget during the board’s monthly meeting, April 30.
At their monthly meeting, on April 2, the board of Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School discussed projected LEAP test scores and was updated on the planned move into the building formerly occupied by Frantz Elementary. Principal Shanda Gentry informed the board that the school is currently in Cycle 4 of STEP (Strategic Teaching and Evaluation of Progress) assessments.
The state Department of Education today released the list of New Orleans schools eligible to participate in its voucher program. The program, called the Scholarships for Educational Excellence Program, has for the past three years offered low-income students from low-performing public schools the chance to attend the private school of their choice, with the state paying the bill for tuition and fees.
Arriving at Mays Prep there were no postings regarding the board meeting and the school’s security guard was unaware of any meeting. According to Brent Washington, the Director of Finance, the principal cancelled the board meeting at about 4 p.m.
The Lens called the school’s office at 1:30pm to confirm the meeting and was told the Board was set to meet at 5pm.