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Marshall charter ends 1st year with surplus

– Thurgood Marshall Leadership Academy will close its inaugural year with excess cash and expects a budget surplus for next year.

In a special meeting Thursday, the charter school’s board approved a $1.3 million budget for the upcoming school year.

This year, board member Will Clark reported that the delay of a loan could have a negative effect on the budget. Board member Jonathan Ray said Thursday that start-up costs were carried through the year and some projected expenses were incorrect, resulting in a positive year-end budget for the school. At the end of May, the school’s budget recorded an excess of about $191,000.

The $1.3 million budget for the 2013-14 school year is based on a projected enrollment of 130 students.

Wages, stipends and bonuses for the school staff total $512,000. The school also budgeted about $106,000 for its building and grounds maintenance. It will also buy iPads for student use for $55,000.

The school will also pay fees to its management company and authorizer: $62,000 to American Quality Schools and $19,000 to the Indiana Charter School Board, the school’s authorizer.

At the end of this school year, the school had fewer than 100 students after enrolling about 130 for count day in September.

Count day is the day on which the state counts the number of students in schools as the basis for per-student tuition payments throughout the year.

With the school’s projected enrollment of 130 students, the budget doesn’t allow the school to hire a music or art teacher, Tiffani Cooper, accountant with American Quality Schools, told board members by phone Thursday.

Board member Sheila Moore suggested the school look into reducing the number of teacher aides it employs in order to hire a part-time art or music teacher for the school.