Work has begun at the Audubon Charter School’s temporary site in Gentilly after the soil passed its lead testing, and the school has set a date for a community meeting about traffic concerns around its Broadway campus. Tests on the soil at the former Jean Gordon campus found lead levels well beneath state standards, according to a report posted at the school website. One of the 10 samples from underneath an oak tree on the site was high enough to require an additional test, but it was determined to be within normal limits as well, the report reads. The move to the new campus will take place Dec. 26 to 29, so the school’s winter break has been altered around those dates.
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. But even as education advocates began thanking the state officials for redrawing the plan, discussion turned to control of the buildings themselves. The Orleans Parish School Board voted to accept the plan Thursday night, for example, but first added an amendment essentially saying that no building could be given to a Type 2 charter unless the Orleans Parish School Board declared it surplus first.
Parents planning to send their children to the second incoming class of students at Lycée Français de la Nouvelle Orléans may have to wait until January to apply, after state officials insisted the school reject all applications for the next three months. School officials recently met with the Louisiana Department of Education and were instructed that they could not begin taking applications for the 2012-2013 school year until Jan. 1., said board president Andrew Abrams at a Monday night meeting of the school’s governing board. Many other New Orleans charter schools began their application process together on Monday to streamline the process for parents, but Abrams said the state officials told Lycée Français that the Jan. 1 policy is statewide.
Audubon Charter School will postpone the legislative process toward expanding its Broadway campus for 30 days while it meets with neighbors to iron out operational issues, an official said Monday. The school was slated to go before the city’s Board of Zoning Adjustments on Monday morning to request permission to expand the rear of the school building toward Pine Street, but an architect for the project asked instead if the matter could be delayed for a month to meet with neighbors. John Lafargue of the neighboring Upper Audubon Association made the same request, which the board granted. The neighbors are not concerned so much about the building’s design as they are about traffic flow around the campus in the morning and afternoon, said Orleans Parish School Board member Woody Koppel, who attended the meeting. Lafargue, for example, attended many of the planning meetings for the building’s expansion and consistently criticized the school’s handling of pickup and dropoff, while praising the school itself and voicing little concern about the expansion design.
Applying to some of the highest-performing charter schools in New Orleans will be a little easier for parents this year, now that 10 schools will be using the same application forms and admission dates. The Eastbank Collaborative of Charter Schools — which includes Lusher, Audubon, the International School of Louisiana and SciHigh in Uptown New Orleans, as well as Benjamin Franklin High School, Hynes and others elsewhere in the city — has crafted a shared application form that parents can fill out an use for each school they want to apply to, officials said this week. The schools will all accept the applications during the same timeframe — Oct. 10 to Jan. 13 — and parents will be notified no later than April 13.
Audubon Charter School received its first look this week at the layout of its new campus at the former Jean Gordon site in Gentilly, as school officials continue to look forward to a wintertime move. While the school still hopes to be able to move its Broadway campus to the new modular campus over the winter break in time to return to class on time Jan. 4, that timeline is not definite, said Alisa Dupre’ business operations manager for Audubon. Officials with the Orleans Parish School Board are still working through permitting and other variables that could affect the move-in dates. With the Broadway campus move and renovations now on track, it is time for Audubon Charter to begin longer-range planning, said board vice-chair Carlos Zervigon.
The governing board of Audubon Charter School will discuss its strategic planning for 2012 in addition to the usual administrative reports at its September monthly meeting Saturday morning, set for 10 a.m. in the cafeteria of the Carrollton campus.
With plans finalized for a mid-winter move to a temporary location in Gentilly, Audubon Charter School is now moving forward with preparations for renovations to its Broadway campus. The expansion design settled upon by architects, teachers and parents will extend the rear of the school building much closer to Pine Street. The city normally requires a 25-foot setback for a school’s backyard, but the design only provides 10 feet, so the school must appear before the city Board of Zoning Adjustments on Monday to request a waiver of the remaining 15 feet. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. Monday at in the City Council chambers at City Hall, 1300 Perdido Street. Also included on Monday’s docket, by neighborhood:
Audubon | An addition to a house that will reduce the side yard space at 17 Richmond Place, and permission for two houses on one lot at 6016 Annunciation.
After publicly pleading for emergency structural repairs last month following years, Audubon and Lusher charter schools now appear to be among a handful of schools slated for work to prevent further deterioration at their campuses. The Orleans Parish School Board decided this week to fund “stabilization” at seven school sites, including Audubon’s Carrollton campus, Audubon assistant principal Dawn Collins told the charter school’s governing board at a Saturday morning meeting to applause and cheers from the board and the small audience. District officials could not be reached Saturday, but a meeting agenda available online shows that the other campuses slated for repairs were Lusher’s elementary and high school campuses, Bethune, McDonogh No. 35, Warren Easton and Edna Karr. Audubon’s understanding is that $4.5 million has been designated for the projects, and that consultants will determine the most critical needs at each school before deciding exactly where that money will be spent, said Alisa Dupre’, business operations manager at Audubon Charter.
Audubon Charter School is planning a midwinter move to a temporary campus on the site of the former Jean Gordon Elementary School in Gentilly to accommodate renovations to its Broadway campus, its governing board has decided. After an Annunciation Street lot in the Lower Garden District was deemed too heavily contaminated by lead to be suitable for a temporary campus, the Jean Gordon site at 6101 Chatham Drive was one of four options considered by Audubon’s board. At a meeting in July, parents and teachers had a generally favorable opinion of the Jean Gordon site, voting it as a strong second choice after the possibility of the St. James Major campus owned by the Archdiocese of New Orleans after Hynes Charter School moves out in December. Carlos Zervigon, vice-president of the French and Montessori Education board that governs Audubon Charter, wrote in a letter to the Orleans Parish School Board that a “budget and program analysis” determined that the Jean Gordon site “would best meet Audubon’s needs and would also be financially viable.”