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.
In three recent testing years, 33 public schools have been flagged for problems and possible cheating on standardized tests — 12 more than once. A testing expert says these irregularities indicate cheating by teachers and administrators, who have a lot riding on their students’ performance.
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.
While Langston Hughes Academy’s staff prepares for the coming school year, its board of directors prepare for dissolution. August 18, 2012 marks the final regular meeting of the school’s board as Langston Hughes Academy will now be exclusively governed by First Line Schools’ Board of Directors.
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.
Revenues from Jazz Fest parking more than doubled this year, directors of Langston Hughes Academy learned at their May board meeting. The school made almost as much on the first weekend ($17,390) as it made on both weekends last year ($19,000), and the second weekend pulled in a hefty $27,893 for a grand total of $45,283.
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.
Five members of the Langston Hughes Academy board gathered on April 24 but in the absence of several members, including finance committee member Paul Pechon, did not formally convene a monthly meeting. The school’s chief financial officer, Adrian Morgan, delivered a brief management report highlighting positive early returns from the first phase of the centralized application process – OneApp – newly inaugurated by the Recovery School District.
The absorption of Langston Hughes Academy by the FirstLine charter management organization should be complete by June 30. FirstLine, which has managed Hughes since 2010, will formally take over the school’s charter and all aspects of its governance.
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.
Langston Hughes Academy’s Marching Eagles band, dancers and majorette unit participated in six Carnival parades this season, including two on the West Bank and one in Metairie. “How the parents made it all the way across town, on-time, every time is beyond me,” chief operating officer Adrian Morgan said in a report to the school’s board of directors at NOLA 180’s monthly meeting, Feb.
That Langston Hughes Academy should create a separate bank account for payroll. That was the most salient suggestion to emerge from discussion of an otherwise routine financial audit by the school’s board of directors, NOLA 180, at their monthly meeting, Jan.
Pending approval by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, the charter for Langston Hughes Academy will shift from NOLA 180 to FirstLine Schools, which has been assisting NOLA 180 in managing the school. The move, announced at the NOLA 180 board meeting on Nov.
NOLA 180, the board that oversees Langston Hughes in partnership with FirstLine Schools, attended a Family Connect meeting on Nov. 8 to seek feedback from parents about the school’s upcoming charter renewal.
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.
NOLA 180, the board that governs Langston Hughes Academy Charter School, met on Sept. 29, a half hour after its scheduled 6 p.m. start time because a prior meeting of the school’s manager, FirstLine, ran long.
The former business manager of a New Orleans charter school was sentenced today to five years in jail for embezzling $660,000 from the school, according to U.S. Attorney Jim Letten’s office. In February, former business manager Kelly Thompson pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to making more than 150 cash withdrawals from Langston Hughes Academy over the 15 months she was employed by the independently run public school.