Governance

ICYMI: Changes for New Orleans Charters

Sen. Claitor’s SB 267 is awaiting the governor’s signature.

The bill will result in a number of changes for charters across the state, but it will have a significant impact on how New Orleans charters are funded.

Changing How Charters Are Funded

The MFP uses a weighted student formula, recognizing some students are more expensive to educate than others. The formula provides extra money for poor students, VoTech education, and gifted and talented students. But, it provides the most money for special education students.

Currently, Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 charter schools are funded using the AVERAGE per pupil amount in the MFP. Hence, they get the same amount of money for a student whether that student is a regular education student or a special education student.

SB 267 changes charter funding in two ways:

1.  It requires Type 1, 2, 3 and 4 charters to be funded based on the money inside the formula for the individual students they educate – not the average. 

    Money will still follow the student, but the amount of money will better reflect the cost budgeted in the MFP for that student. For a charter school that has a lower percentage of special needs students than the district, this change will lower the amount of money the school receives. If a charter exceeds the average, it will get more money.

Educate Now! agrees with this funding change. If a school is not educating special needs students, then they should not get the extra money the state allocates for these students. In New Orleans, we have some charters that enroll less than 5% special education students and others that have more than 20%. The amount of money schools receive should reflect these differences.

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Great Story: New Normal in New Orleans Public Schools

This article captures the spirit of the unique way New Orleans’ system of schools is working. Enjoy.

New Orleans Has Developed a New Normal in Education

 

ICYMI: 10th Anniversary Data Available on DOE Website

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clipping

The Louisiana Department of Education has created a special webpage with information on RSD and OPSB schools from 2004 to the present. 10 Years After Hurricane Katrina: The New Orleans Education Landscape Today includes analyses and data on enrollment and demographics, academic outcomes, high school performance, African-American student performance, students with disabilities, school facilities and ensuring equitable access for all students.

Congratulations to the class of 2015! Watch highlights from the second annual Senior Shout Out, a celebration of the 2,500 New Orleans seniors who received $75 million in scholarships and are going to over 300 colleges and universities.

The Times-Picayune takes a comprehensive look at changes in special education since Katrina, beginning with An introduction, and continuing with What happened after the storm?, One child learns to love school, Graduation rates rise and other successes, Problems that remain, and Is there life after high school?

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ICYMI: HB 166 (Bouie) Defeated

In Case You Missed It (ICYMI) … Your mini news clipping

HB 166 (Bouie) Defeated

The Louisiana House of Representatives defeated HB 166 (Bouie) return of schools 33-61. The Times-Picayune would agree with this decision.

State Headlines

A District Court ruled BESE’s funding of type 2 charters in the MFP is constitutional. The judge said Type 2 charter schools are clearly public schools, and it was proper to support them with the use of public funds. The plaintiffs will appeal.
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Common Core Compromise Reached

Legislators and Superintendent John White have reached a compromise on a plan to move forward with Louisiana student standards and tests.

Both sides of the Common Core debate will declare a victory with this compromise.

For Common Core opponents:
  • BESE will begin a review process of the standards and come up with proposed new/revised standards by February 21, 2016.
  • The public, the Legislature, and Louisiana’s next governor will be able to weigh in on any new proposed standards.
  • Louisiana will no longer be part of the PARCC consortium for its tests. Next year’s tests will have no more than 49% of questions from PARCC.
For Common Core supporters:
  • Louisiana will keep its commitment to more rigorous standards and will have tests that allow Louisiana to compare its performance to other states.
  • The existing Common Core standards will remain in place until new standards are developed and approved.
  • Although new standards must be approved by the Legislature and the governor, any decision must be on the standards as a whole; they can’t edit specific parts. A No vote means BESE goes back to the drawing board, and the existing standards remain in place.

For more on the compromise and the proposed legislation that will make it possible, click on the links below.

View the proposed plan: Terms of an Agreement to Implement Challenging Louisiana Student Standards and Tests.

Read a Statement from the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) on the proposed compromise.

Read more about the proposed compromise on Nola.com.

NOT NOW – Say NO to HB 166

House Bill 166 (Rep. Bouie, D-New Orleans) passed the Education Committee by the slimmest of margins and will now go to the House for a vote.

If enacted, HB 166 would require RSD New Orleans schools that are no longer failing to return to the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) as early as this fall.

OPSB is not ready for the return of these schools.

OPSB’s new superintendent, Henderson Lewis, Jr., has said he isn’t sure yet whether the district would be ready for the transfer of schools.

In an interview with The Advocate, Lewis pointed out that some of the most important functions of any central office in a charter-dominated school system are still carried out by RSD officials, including the central enrollment system and the hearing office for students facing expulsion. OPSB doesn’t have the policies or systems in place it will need to manage all the schools.

OPSB remains dysfunctional on many levels. It took the board 2½ years to hire a new superintendent. They have not been able to build consensus and pass new policies, even on easy issues that would bring OPSB into compliance with state law. And the recent indictment of former OPSB president Ira Thomas is an unfortunate reminder of the corruption that has plagued the OPSB.

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News Alert: OPSB seeking interim to fill Ira Thomas’ seat

The Orleans Parish School Board is seeking an interim replacement for board member Ira Thomas.
Thomas resigned Friday, March 6 upon being charged with taking a bribe.

The school board has 10 business days to find a replacement to fill Thomas’ seat until a Special Election is called. They are hoping to appoint a qualified person at their March 17 meeting, but if they can’t agree on a candidate, Governor Bobby Jindal must appoint someone.

OPSB has put out a call for candidates. Anyone interested must hand deliver a Letter of Interest to the OPSB office by noon on Thursday, March 12. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Louisiana for the last two years and of District 1 for the last year.

OPSB is hoping to get someone well-versed on school matters who “can just jump on board.” This is important since the school board is in the middle of negotiating a contract with its new superintendent, Henderson Lewis Jr.

To apply:

Letters of Interest should be addressed to Board President Seth Bloom and hand delivered to the OPSB Board Office, 3520 General de Gaulle Drive, Suite 5055, New Orleans by noon on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

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OPSB Selects Superintendent

ICYMI … Your mini news clippings

  • In this letter to the editor, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Juvenile Court Chief Judge Gray and others applaud the One-App’s centralized enrollment process and congratulate the RSD for its efforts to hold schools accountable for serving all students.

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Charter Schools Help Improve Special Education in New Orleans

This guest editorial appeared in the Times-Picayune, and I wanted to share it with you.

Charter Schools Help Improve Special Education in New Orleans: Leslie Jacobs

In fourth grade, James, a special needs student at John Dibert Charter School, was struggling academically and behaviorally. He was making daily trips to the dean’s office for disruptive behavior and emotional outbursts. James is now on honor roll in eighth grade, scored mastery and advanced on state tests and is applying to Ben Franklin High School.

Zaria transferred to Arthur Ashe Charter School at the beginning of second grade as a special education student, reading at kindergarten level. By the end of fourth grade she scored mastery in English.

Zaria and James are two of the many students who have benefited from the city’s improvement in serving students with special needs.

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Schools Need Your Help

Times-Picayune and Gambit have both come out in support of the school facility millage on December 6th.

  • Before the flood, many schools in New Orleans were old and in deplorable shape because of years of deferred maintenance. There was no dedicated stream of revenue for repairs. It would be a terrible waste to allow that to happen again with the schools being built or refurbished post-Katrina.
  • This proposition will NOT increase your taxes: The 4.97 mill tax currently received by schools to pay construction bond debt would be redirected gradually (when not needed to pay the bonds) and dedicated to facility preservation. Your taxes will not increase.

Help pass the millage – What YOU can do:

  • VOTE on December 6th! Turnout looks to be low, so every vote is important.
  • Share this information with your friends.
  • Put up a yard sign. Email me at ljacobs@educatenow.net, and I will get you one.

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