Audubon officials learned in January that the Carrollton campus would receive more than $2 million in “stabilization” money, and the Orleans Parish School Board ultimately approved $2.5 million to bring the building to a new citywide baseline of “warm, safe and dry.” But because the portable buildings at the Carrollton campus are considered temporary — despite their many years of use there — they were not originally considered part of the project.
Now, Audubon principal Janice Dupuy has sent a letter to the Orleans Parish School Board asking that the decision be reconsidered, since so many children attend classes in the buildings.
“Initially when they came and did the walk-through, they said it would only affect the main building,” Dupuy said. “We have learned there may be other funding, and we’re asking them to come back.”
One hopeful sign was a recent walking tour of the Carrollton facility by Kathleen Padian, the director of the Orleans Parish School Board charter school office. She seemed receptive to the urgent need for roof repairs and bathroom renovations in the portables, said Alisa Dupre, operations manager at Audubon.
The school’s website will soon be redesigned to change the section currently devoted to the “swing space” in Gentilly to a page devoted to updates on the renovations at both the Broadway and Carrollton campuses, noted Audubon board chair Cornelius Tilton.
“If we are actively engaged, that keeps the rumor mill from starting up all over again,” Tilton said.
Meanwhile, the admissions process is ongoing, and the school received more than 1,000 applications this year, Dupre said. School officials expect some attrition from families who do not want to send their children to the Gentilly campus, but total enrollment numbers will not be known until other schools send out their acceptance letters, likely in mid-April.
“Just looking at numbers, we certainly have enough to fill all our kindergarten and pre-kindergarten vacancies,” Dupre said, though upper-grade students in the French and Montessori programs are harder to replace.
The enrollment figures will play an important role in budgeting for the upcoming year, Tilton said.
“When we have those numbers, then we’ll be in a much better position to actually start making projections for revenues for the upcoming school year,” Tilton said.
Both the French and Montessori programs will be having upcoming meetings with parents to discuss their progress in their curriculum. Dr. Dennis Smith, director of the Montessori program, said that he is particularly interested in improving student retention, especially because the Montessori teachers are showing such dramatic improvement in their methods and accountability.
“I sure as heck do not want parents to move their child from our school to another school simply because they do not know how good a school we are,” Smith said, noting that his focus lately has been on formalizing the upper-grade curriculum. “We’re still in the process of creating our program, and that’s where a lot of my time and energy is going.”