Walter L. Cohen High School has run a budget deficit since it was taken over by the Future Is Now charter network that also operates John McDonogh High School, and whether Future Is Now will continue running it depends on the financial contribution that the Recovery School District will agree to, according to a report by Della Hasselle of The Lens.
Meagan McKinnon, senior class president at Walter L. Cohen High School, left campus Wednesday afternoon with no idea of the upheaval the coming week would bring to her campus.
Thursday morning, the student body was abuzz with rumors that the school was about to be merged with John McDonogh High School. At an assembly that afternoon, they found out that no merger was planned, but that the New York-based Future Is Now charter group that took over McDonogh this year would be given control of Cohen within a week, and that most of the Cohen administrators and teachers would be replaced.
Stunned, McKinnon and her classmates marched out of the building. They haven’t returned to class since then, instead alternating between protests and class time on the lawn as they demand the decisions be justified or reversed.
New Orleans College Prep, the charter school that manages Walter L. Cohen High School, may have to dip into its reserves to cover a $300,000 gap between expenses and revenues in its $11.2 million budget for the coming year, if fundraisers and donations cannot fill the shortfall, according to a report by Yomi Akinyemi for The Lens. The budget hole comes from the expiration of previous startup grants and College Prep’s increasing portion of the costs of the Cohen building.
The New Orleans College Prep governing board — which operates Sylvanie Williams elementary in Central City and Walter L. Cohen High School — has decided to apply to run a third school, and took action on the application after a three-hour closed-door meeting that appears to have run afoul of the state’s open-meetings laws, reports Joshua Johnston of The Lens.
What was about to be an extraordinarily brief public meeting of the state’s top education officials at Walter L. Cohen High School became an unscripted dialogue about the transformation of that school and others into charters Wednesday evening.
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will meet at 6 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, May 30) at Walter L. Cohen High School, 3520 Dryades Street. Among the agenda items are a request to add an an eighth grade to Lafayette Academy, and move the preschool, kindergarten and central offices to a new site in Mid-City.
The board will also receive a report on school construction projects around the city, including Audubon Charter’s Broadway campus renovation, the construction of Lawrence Crocker campus in the Milan neighborhood, the gym construction at McMain High School, the design of the Booker T. Washington High School, and the installation of solar panels at the International School of Louisiana’s Camp Street campus.
A wave of shootings in the Irish Channel that may be connected to an attack on a school bus last month and another outbreak of gun violence in the Central City area led to a joint operation of more than 40 officers being deployed to find the shooters and suppress the gunfire, authorities said this week.
A member of the Walter L. Cohen football team was shot to death Friday evening in front of a vacant home at Fig and Eagle, authorities said.
The design of the new Booker T. Washington High School building will be on display at a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. tonight (Monday, March 19) at New Orleans College Prep, formerly the Sylvanie Williams school, at 3127 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
After Saturday’s cancellations, Uptown parade-goers were treated to a total of six parades Sunday — five in the morning, and the superkrewe Bacchus in the evening — with dense crowds along the entirety of each route.
Editor’s note: We had originally intended to do a listing of “most popular” posts on UptownMessenger.com in 2011, but in the process decided that a focus on the most important stories of the year in Uptown New Orleans would be more substantive. What follows is our assessment of the stories we’ve covered over the past year that continue to matter the most, with some commentary explaining our thinking. And, for anyone curious, those “most popular” posts are included at bottom as well. Thank you to everyone who read us in 2011, and we look forward to another year.
Two deputy superintendents promised the Carrollton neighborhood leaders that they would be involved in an upcoming feasibility study of the Priestley site. To questions about the plans for Booker T. Washington plan, they replied only that nothing is final and that they are continuing to hear concerns from the community.
The state’s plan to transform Walter L. Cohen High School into a charter school over the next two years inspires a mixed reaction through the school community, based on a Wednesday night meeting with dozens of alumni, faculty, parents and students.
While some Cohen supporters agreed with the state that the school is in dire need of dramatic change to its dismal, lowest-in-the-state performance, many remain skeptical about what they see as a painful transition with an uncertain outcome.
Walter L. Cohen High School is slated to be gradually taken over by NOLA College Prep over the next two years, one of nine struggling Recovery School District campuses around the city to be placed under control of a new charter operator, officials said this week. No other Uptown school was included in the list, but the announcement casts the challenges that Sojourner Truth Academy faces this year into sharp relief.
With an apparent consensus in support of the latest plan to distribute what’s left of $2 billion in FEMA money to rebuild and repair New Orleans schools, attention is now quickly shifting to the programs will receive the school buildings once the money has been spent.
The new plan scales back the size of some schools to be built, finds new revenue sources and cuts cost elsewhere to spread the money to every school in the city, either through new construction; full renovation or exterior refurbishment to bring every campus to a standard of “warm, safe and dry.”
“Not every school is a new building, not every school is a gut-renovation, but every school is made whole for education,” said Recovery School District superintendent John White.
Both campuses of Lusher Charter School, “Baby Ben” Franklin Elementary and the International School of Louisiana’s Camp Street campus are all newly slated for renovations under the latest plan to spend the remainder of a $2 billion FEMA payout for school repairs, and Johnson Elementary will have a renewed shot at moving to the Priestly site.
A majority of Uptown public schools continued the improvement that has characterized New Orleans schools in recent years, with Lusher and Audubon charter schools both earning “A” grades and New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School improving its score by more than 30 percent.
Uptown New Orleans has a relatively strong selection of campuses deemed “honor roll” schools by the state, those earning an A or B based on 2011 school performance scores released Wednesday. The lower-performing schools fall roughly into two categories: one group striving upward at varying rates, and similar-sized group continuing to struggle.
Uptown schools vary widely in both the quality of their instruction and their openness to the public, according to a pair of reports released this week.