Cheers and applause were heard at Wednesday’s Discovery Charter School Board
of Directors meeting after good news was announced.
Just how much good news is something yet to be determined.
As budget time nears, Thomas Aubin, vice president of finance and
administration of Discovery’s management company American Quality
Management, told the board the school is “well ahead of budget” with its
basic grant line, garnering applause from board member Allan Gabrielle.
“That’s terrific!” he said.
But the board has yet to hear from the state an exact amount of funding to
be given to Discovery. Aubin said the school could receive up to 12 percent
more per student, based on estimates from the Indiana Senate, while Board
President Laurie said she saw a chart printed in an area newspaper that
suggested it will receive less money from the state this year.
According to Aubin, time will tell. “We won’t know until we actually see
it,” he said.
While the school has been successful lately in winning grants, Metz said
that Discovery is not eligible for some of the grants because they can only
be applied for two or three years and Discovery will be moving into its
But Aubin shared something else for school officials to feel good about. The
state has decided to “forgive” its charter schools their common school loans
from the Department of Education. The Common School Fund loaned charter
schools money to cover operating expenses during the first sixth months of
operation, since charter schools budget on a calendar year unlike the state
When Indiana lawmakers passed the new biennial budget a few weeks ago, $91
million was budgeted to pay back any outstanding common school fund loans.
“This is really good for all charter schools in Indiana,” Aubin said.
The board will begin its budgeting and strategic planning sessions next
month after the 2012-2013 academic year ends. The last day for students is
June 5, said Discovery Director Ernesto Martinez.
On a related note, Gabrielle said that the Discovery development committee
will be meeting soon to set a five-year plan and budget and explore
In his report to the board, Martinez said that the statewide glitches
reported with ISTEP+ testing were not seen at Discovery. However, there was
a power outage that interrupted the test on the first day, but testing has
been completed, Martinez said. Due to the glitches, it is unknown when the
test scores will be released.
8th Grade recognition
In the last few days of the school year, the school will hold its 8th Grade
student recognition event, including a dinner and ceremony. Doors will open
at 5 p.m. with the dinner around 5:30 p.m., Martinez said, which is just for
the students and their parents. Guests are welcome for the ceremony
The school also invites the fathers of Discovery students for breakfast on
Friday, May 31 for Donuts for Dads, from 8 to 8:45 a.m.
In new business, the board approved a breastfeeding policy for occasions
when a breastfeeding mother and her young child might visit the school.
Board member Linda Simon read aloud the policy, which states the school
supports the rights of breastfeeding mothers and implements Indiana law
permitting “mothers to breastfeed wherever they have a right to be” but also
asks them to be discreet.
If a visiting mother needs a “comfortable” location to breastfeed, they may
ask the school office for assistance, the policy states.
Martinez also mentioned an update made to the tutoring policy during the
summer. Students can meet with Discovery teachers for tutoring at school
between the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays and may use the classrooms
for free. That is the method most public schools use, he said.
Payment for tutoring services will be an arrangement between the teacher and
the parent, not the school, Martinez said.
-- Seventh grader David Dumelle has begun work on his Eagle Scout project
now that spring has arrived Ð an outdoor classroom for his schoolmates to
enjoy. Dumelle is an active Scout with local Troop 908 in Chesterton.
-- The board will restart the process of seeking a new member to fill the
seat held previously by Sara Anderson.
-- A new Facebook page will be created by Discovery before the start of next
school year to be used exclusively to deliver information to parents who may
not read the weekly newsletter.
-- The Parents Advisory Council helped raise thousands of dollars in its
fundraiser last month at the Uptown Center for the Performing Arts in
Michigan City. The money will be used to help build a gymnasium/multipurpose
room for the school.