With the McDonogh 7 campus at 1111 Milan Street nearing completion, Audubon’s governing board changed the school calendar Saturday morning to make students’ last day of school Dec. 17. Teachers will remain at the school packing their classrooms through the last three days of the week, and the moving company is scheduled to begin work Dec. 26, said Audubon operations manager Alisa Dupre.
Teachers will return Jan. 6 to begin unpacking at the new location, and students will return to their new classrooms Jan. 9, Dupre said. Students will still receive the state-mandated amount of instructional time, though the change will require approval by the Orleans Parish School Board, Dupre said.
The lead-paint remediation has been completed, Dupre said. The portable classrooms have been installed, and a few last walkways are being finished.
“A lot of work has gone into the building,” she says. “It looks 100 percent better than it did.”
The major outstanding issue, Dupre said, is the traffic pattern around the school. In order to prevent traffic jams, the school would like for the bus-loading zone on Milan to be extended for the length of the block, and officials have asked for the Orleans Parish School Board to initiate discussions with the city about that, Dupre said.
But rather than drafting a traffic plan in-house, Dupre requested that the school board authorize a traffic study around the site. The study will take about five days, she said, but starting school without a strong plan would be a disservice to both neighbors and to Audubon parents.
“We can’t wait until they get there and try to figure it all out,” Dupre said.
The board told her to go ahead with the study, at a price of about a $2,000.
In other action, the board voted to increase the school’s budget from $7.13 million to $7.56 million, primarily based on an increase in per-pupil funding. Major outlays for the money are salary adjustments, the move to Milan Street, and fees requested by the Orleans Parish School Board for ongoing litigation — though board member Greg Thompson said his opinion is that the school is not responsible for those legal fees.
The board also heard presentations from the Eastbank Collaborative of Charter Schools and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools. To read our live coverage of the meeting, see below.