Jan 132014

lfno lycee patton featLycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans is receiving more applications for kindergarten through the citywide OneApp system than it ever has before, even as the young French-immersion charter school seeks to put to rest some of the lingering internal issues from its tumultuous previous school year.

During the “early window” phase of the OneApp process in December — which focuses on grades 1 and up — Lycee received 349 applications, with 179 in kindergarten alone, said Lycee CEO Keith Bartlett at Monday night’s meeting of the school’s governing board. By contrast, last spring the school admitted all 152 of its applicants for the current school year.

Of the kindergarten applicants, 110 ranked Lycee as their first choice, Bartlett said. The main phase of the OneApp for kindergarten applications actually just opened Monday (Jan. 13) and will continue until the end of February.

“We expect even more applications than we already received in that early window,” Bartlett says. “The interest in our school is certainly there.”

During this year’s admissions process, the school plans to reserve 67 percent of its seats for students who qualify for free or reduced lunches, to bring it closer in line with the at-risk student population of Louisiana.

Amid the growing enthusiasm for the school, a handful of issues from its divisive 2012-2013 school year still remain unresolved, board members said Monday night.

  • The school received its audit for the 2012-13 school year Monday night, and received a clean bill of financial health. The previous year’s audit found a number of weaknesses in internal financial controls, and parents were outraged to find the school year ended with a cash shortfall — but auditor Todd Tournillon said Monday that those problems have been resolved, and the school ended 2012-13 with a surplus.
    “That’s quite a change from the initial year, which had a deficit,” Tournillon said.
  • Some parents have repeatedly questioned the marketing, development and admissions contract with the Sweet Olive firm, and Bartlett had previously recommended moving those duties in-house, but possibly as part-time positions. On Monday, Bartlett said the school can afford to make the two full-time positions in admissions and development, and that the workload will justify the cost. The board members agreed that Bartlett has the authority to begin advertising for those openings without a formal board vote.
  • The school has recently discovered an unpaid bill of $14,000 from Adams and Reese, its previous law firm. It is unclear how the bill was overlooked, said board member Allyson Mills, and the school is currently weighing its options as to how to deal with it.
  • Former faculty member Darleen Mipro still has several outstanding lawsuits against the school, reported board member Ben Castoriano. One is for defamation, one is for breach of contract and a final one concerns a wage dispute, Castoriano said — though Mipro’s husband, Michael Depp, added after the meeting that she has also sued the school for malicious prosecution.
    A judge had ruled in Mipro’s favor in the wage dispute, but the school is appealing that case, Castoriano said, and the other two are pending as well. The board voted to go into a 20-minute executive session to discuss the details of the lawsuits further, drawing criticism from parent Paula Griffin for going behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, the school is continuing to negotiate with St. Paul’s church next door for the use of some space for administrative offices and possibly classrooms next year as the school continues to grow, Bartlett said. A decision on that is likely next month, said board chair Tim Gray.

To read our live coverage, see below.

  13 Responses to “Lycee Francais sees surge in OneApp applications as old issues still linger”

  1. Mr. Morris’ quote from above, “Former faculty member Darleen Mipro still has several outstanding lawsuits against the school, reported board member Ben Castoriano. One is for defamation, one is for breach of contract and a final one concerns a wage dispute, Castoriano said — though Mipro’s husband, Michael Depp, added after the meeting that she has also sued the school for malicious prosecution.”

    “malicious prosecution” not one new frivolous law suit, but actually two. The other is for “damages”. Both filed in November 2013. This is a total of 5 lawsuits against HER child’s school. How much of MY children’s money is going to pay for the defense of these law suits. Sure there is insurance, but the children’s money paid for the deductible and anything not covered. Yes, my wife is now named in 3 of the 5 suits. We donate money, our business donates food and money, we volunteer, but I will always now ask myself, “where is this donation really going?”. Had Mr. Depp not informed Mr. Morris about the “malicious prosecution” suit, we would not know about these 2 new law suits until actually served. As of today still no knock on the door.

    • Perhaps your wife should have thought of the potential for a lawsuit (naming her and the school) when she directed her venom at Ms. Mipro with the assistance of other former LFNO board members. It’s noteworthy that you are worried that this is affecting your child’s education, when the major part of the incident she and LFNO are being sued for was played out in front of LFNO children (including hers) with no regard for their well being.

      • Children’s education is great!!! Frivolous lawsuits taking money away
        from the children’s needs, not great. And if that is ok with you, you
        are the one who has to live with it, your tax dollars. We just want to make sure our
        children what they need and
        by spending money on new lawsuits is not where their money needs to go.

    • Paige and Jacques, you lost, but we all see your venom is still spewing. Trying to destroy other people and schools can not be healthy. I am so sorry for you.

      • French??? We did not loose anything. We have a great school with great
        teachers and parents. Destroying other people and schools, wow, you
        sure give us a lot of power. We are not that powerful. People destroy
        themselves and for schools, bad education destroys them. Not little old
        us!!! Venom? French sauce maybe.

    • egads man! Your wife and her cabal set these events into motion and now you appear online to complain about the use of YOUR money? Please, come up for air.

    • Do you really think anyone’s buying this comical act about “tax payer money”. You’re not diverting anyone’s attention from the truth. Especially regarding why you’re being sued. I saw what was done to that teacher with my own eyes.

      It was inhumane.

      I think you’ve officially run out of people who haven’t been warned about your BS. Your only supporters now are the toxic few who profit from your outrageous behavior.

  2. Did Ms. Mipro physically harm any of her students? Did she threaten to do so? Did she verbally abuse any of her students? Did she have inappropriate contact with any of her students? Did she threaten the safety of the students, faculty, or staff of the school? If she did any of these things, then calling the police to escort her out of the building in front of her son, the students, the faculty, and the staff MAY have been appropriate, if it was truly in the best interest of the safety of the school population, and I’m sure that the school counselors would have made sure that all involved–including her son and the other children– understood the necessity of such an action. Was this the case? If it wasn’t–I’m no genius, and, having no kid at this school or any other French school–then it seems to me, um, rather malicious. If you had legitimate grounds for doing so, fire her ass. But to do so in the way Lycée did was not only unnecessarily punitive, but truly malicious.

  3. Excellent questions all, MagazineSt and the answer to all is NO. All charges against Ms. Mipro were dropped. http://thelensnola.org/2013/03/08/charges-dropped-against-former-lycee-teacher-who-was-escorted-from-campus-by-police/

  4. Oh yes I am. The way the old board of this school squandered good will and my money is deplorable. Time to move on.

  5. i find it outrageous that you, Paige, continue on this mean spirited bent continuing to divide, not unite. I don’t believe that your husband wrote the comments below. Yes, LFNO funds were used to cover the deductible for the board’s liability insurance in regard to this lawsuit, but the loss of monies are directly attributable to you and your minions. Had you conducted board business in a professional manner, the school would not be suffering the loss of funds today. Board members are prohibited from getting involved in the day to day operation of a school, but you were there daily running the school’s business. Personnel issues were not in your purview as a board member, but you ignored your roll of policy maker to engage in those pursuits. So many became targets of your destruction. Ms. Mipro was the “one” who held you accountable for your divisive venom, and unprofessional behavior. I commend her for her courage, and willingness to take a stand against you.

    The school is now on the path to success with a new CEO and board. Why don’t you focus your venom elsewhere so that Lycée Francais can begin to enjoy a harmonious environment, and get about the business of educating its many students?

  6. To Guest…which I’m sure we all know who you are. All I can say is, I will continue to pray for you to god to help you. You are definitely in need of gods help to be a better person and to stop being so malicious. MAY GOD HELP YOU!!!

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