New Orleans has become a case study in how children and families are affected by decentralization of public education and mental health systems. The problem is particularly urgent because more schoolchildren suffer from mental health issues here than in other parts of the country.
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.
The federal government should have paid for most of the meals, but months passed before ReNEW provided the proper documentation. Since then, RSD has been trying to get the money from ReNEW. How much is owed? RSD says it’s about $496,000; ReNEW says it’s about $232,000.
ReNEW’s board of directors voted Thursday to expand the four-school network by taking on another school next year. ReNEW currently serves about 2,400 students and with the additional elementary school, the network will aim to serve 3,300 students.
Between 20 and 25 percent cumulatively of last year’s top undergraduates did not re-enroll in ReNEW schools this year, chief executive officer Gary Robichaux told the charter management organization’s board of directors at their monthly meeting in October. Robichaux cited the state voucher program and low school performance scores—both SciTech and Batiste Cultural Arts Academy are ranked “F”—as prime reasons for the drop-off.
An “End of Year Field Studies” program that aims to send nearly seven hundred students to centers of art and science throughout the country was announced at the monthly ReNEW Schools board meeting, August 9. The program, created by recently-appointed Development Director Pete Rodway, is designed to offer students educational trips at year’s end to enhance their learning outcomes.
ReNEW’s board of directors learned at its June meeting that two of the network’s three elementary schools will likely meet their internal school performance score targets. Chief Executive Officer Gary Robichaux said SciTech Academy and Reed Elementary are predicted to score 71 and 65, respectively. Robichaux’s predicted score of 63 for Batiste Cultural Arts Academy is five points below ReNEW’s target score. With those scores, each school would receive an ‘D’ ‘F’ grade for performance.
At their monthly board meeting, May 10, ReNEW’s board of directors learned about new programs and cuts to anticipated funding reimbursements. Controller Tanya Bryant said cuts from the federal Title I program – which augments funding for low-income and at-risk students – came to about $80,000 after it was determined that students over age 18 do not qualify for the support.
The ReNEW Board of Directors discussed a shortage in federal funding for students at its accelerated high schools on Thursday. Some students at the accelerated high schools aren’t eligible for federal Title I funding, the board has learned.
School leaders within the ReNEW network will have a bigger say in next year’s budgets, the ReNEW charter management organization announced at the monthly meeting of its board of directors, March 8. ReNEW’s chief executive officer Gary Robichaux informed the board that school leaders planning for the upcoming year will be given a template with which to make decisions on such issues as transportation and faculty needs, based on projected enrollment.
The ReNEW Charter Schools Board of Directors met Oct. 13 at Batiste Cultural Arts Academy at Live Oak. In addition to expected updates, the meeting included presentation of a $50,000 grant from State Farm and the announcement of another $400,000 grant from the NewSchools Venture Fund.
Correction: This story has been corrected to reflect that the BESE Candidate Forum was co-sponsored by the Charter Board Council, of which ReNEW is a member. A previous version stated that the event was sponsored solely by ReNEW.