Returning Schools to the Orleans Parish School Board: It’s BESE’s Decision

Before the end of 2010, the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will have to determine if New Orleans schools will stay in the Recovery School District (RSD) or be returned to the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). Here is a brief review of the law governing BESE’s decision-making process and an outline of the steps involved.

The Louisiana legislature passed Act 35 in the fall of 2005. ACT 35 governs the state’s takeover of New Orleans public schools after Katrina and outlines the timeline for the possible return of schools from the RSD to the OPSB.

  • This September, the RSD must submit a report to the BESE.

    • This report must include:
      • The status of each transferred school
      • The nature of its faculty and administration
      • The demographics and size of its student body
      • Its organizational and management structure
      • Whether there has been improvement in academic performance. If so, how much? If not, why not?
    • It must also include one of the four following recommendations for each school that entered the RSD:
      • Continue operation in RSD as is
      • Continue operation in RSD with some change in its operational status and the nature of such change
      • Close the school and the reasons why, or
      • Return the school to the OPSB, including the proposed stipulations and conditions for return
  • BESE must act on RSD’s recommendation no later than 12/31/ 2010.
  • If BESE elects to keep a school in the RSD, it can keep the school in the RSD for up to an additional 5 years.  If BESE decides to return a school, the return would be effective 7/1/2011.