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.

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  • Jacques Saleun

    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.

    • Nola

      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.

      • Jacques Saleun

        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.

    • frenchfriend

      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.

      • Jacques Saleun

        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.

    • boathead12

      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.

    • écoeuré

      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.

  • AmyGeorge

    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/

  • boathead12

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

  • Concerned”WB”Parent

    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!!!