Charter boards overseeing 17 schools must decide by the end of the year if they want to move from the Recovery School District to the Orleans Parish School Board. But there are still reasons for schools to stay put, such as funding issues and concerns about the management and leadership of the local school system.
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.
Though FirstLine Schools’ Board of Directors didn’t have a quorum Wednesday, they voted to go into executive session. The members asked everyone to leave while they met privately for a half-hour, saying only that they were going to talk about “personnel issues.”
At their November meeting, FirstLine board members adopted a list of five guiding principles for governance, unanimously elected two new board members and viewed a lengthy development committee presentation focused on raising money to replace fading start-up and turn-around money for FirstLine schools. “New Orleans has a rare opportunity to set up a structure that will facilitate the long-term success of schools after this generation of leaders is gone,” said CEO Jay Altman, speaking about the governance guidelines.
FirstLine Schools saw an overall improvement in their 2012 state School Performance Scores (SPS), which were released by the Louisiana Department of Education earlier this week. Each FirstLine school maintained or improved its score from the previous year.
From left, Martin Behrman, Arthur Ashe and KIPP Believe are three campuses that are likely to be eligible to return to the oversight of the Orleans Parish School Board, above. Photo by Jessica Williams
Several more independent charter school leaders soon will find themselves facing a question that several others, including Sophie B. Wright Charter School’s principal, have been grappling with for more than a year: Should we move back under the wing of the Orleans Parish School Board?
The FirstLine Schools board of directors voted unanimously to approve a revised final budget for the 2012-2013 school year at their monthly meeting, September 26. The final budget for the upcoming year still comes in around the projected $26 million, according to finance committee chair Stephen Rosenthal.
FirstLine Schools Inc. welcomed two new board members and announced the long-awaited opening of the new Arthur Ashe Charter School building during its meeting on August 22. The board unanimously elected Kim Henry and Paul Pechon.
The FirstLine Schools’ Board of Directors took an in-depth look at the 2012-2013 budget at its monthly meeting on June 18. FirstLine controls Samuel J. Green Charter School, John Dibert Community School, Joseph C. Clark Preparatory High School, Arthur Ashe Charter School, and, beginning with the 2012-2013 school year, it will operate Langston Hughes Academy.
Initial results from standardized state tests look good, FirstLine Schools chief executive officer Jay Altman told the board at their May monthly meeting. Altman said he expects John Dibert Community School to post some of the city’s biggest gains. He said he was pleased that Langston Hughes Academy maintained the status quo.
Budget projections have held up and each of the five schools in the expanding FirstLine network are operating with a surplus of roughly $30,000, finance committee chairman Stephen Rosenthal told fellow board members at their monthly meeting, April 24. The strong balances have been realized despite unpredictable drops in attendance and related revenue, especially at Joseph S. Clark Prep. The back ink shows that the corporation as a whole can support itself within the current model, Rosenthal noted.
FirstLine schools anticipate ending the school year comfortably in the black, board members were pleased to learn at their monthly meeting in March. Revenues are expected to exceed expenses by $738,000, finance committee chairman Stephen Rosenthal reported, to applause.
Board members Alison Hartman, Charleen Blache, Stephen Rosenthal, Dana Peterson, Gregory St. Etienne, Lawrence Kullman, Darleene Peters, Brian Egana, Chief Operating Officer Adrian Morgan, and Chief Executive Officer Jay Altman were present Oct.
FirstLine School board met Sept. 29 to make decisions and discuss new plans and concerns for its group of charter schools: Samuel J. Green Charter School, Arthur Ashe Charter School, John Dibert Community School, and Joseph S. Clark, which includes The NET Charter High.