Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Discovery Charter School ahead of budget board told

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

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 fourth year.

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 budget.

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 fundraising options.

ISTEP

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 following.

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.

Policies

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.

Other topics:

-- 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.

 

 

 

 

Posted 5/24/2013