In the News: January 28, 2014

New President for OPSB

Q & A: Nolan Marshall Jr. says he aims to build consensus as OPSB president
The Lens – January 21, 2014
Nolan Marshall, Jr. has been elected the new president of OPSB. Marshall says he wants to build consensus on the board rather than oversee conflict, and he wants to keep reaching out to charter schools in the hope of bringing them back to local control. Marshall also says he believes in promoting policies that encourage contracting with disadvantaged businesses, and he supports reducing the number of elected school board members and adding people appointed by the mayor and the governor to the board. Reaction to Marshall’s election has been generally positive, with most hoping that Marshall will continue to be a voice of reason who will help smooth disagreements on a polarized board. For more on Marshall’s election, read this article in the Times-Picayune.

MFP Lawsuit: Is it time to pay attention?

Baton Rouge judge denies class action status for St. John School Board suit against state
Times-Picayune – January 27, 2014
A lawsuit filed against the state of Louisiana argues that because the public school funding formula, the MFP, was not correctly approved by the legislature for three years, the state should revert to a prior formula, which included an annual 2.75% increase in funding to cover inflation. If the suit is successful, the state could owe districts three years of retroactive MFP, or close to $200 million. The plaintiffs were seeking class action status, and 44 of Louisiana’s 69 districts had voted to opt in, but a District Court judge ruled against class action status. He said it would have forced all districts and other LEAs (e.g., charters) to opt in, whether they wanted to or not. Editor’s note: Now that it won’t be a class action lawsuit, Educate Now! urges any charter that is its own LEA to determine whether it has to be a plaintiff in order to benefit if the litigation is successful.

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Court Rules in Favor of Teachers Fired After Katrina

What does it mean for New Orleans schools?

The appellate court recently issued a unanimous ruling in favor of the 7,000 OPSB employees (teachers and support workers) who were terminated in the aftermath of Katrina (Oliver vs. OPSB). Educate Now! has received lots of questions regarding the ruling and its impact on the continuing operation of schools, especially since the media has implied that the judgment could bankrupt the school system. Here is what we know.

What did the ruling say? 

  • The appeal court ruled that while the Orleans Parish School Board had the right to execute a reduction in force after Katrina, it failed to create a recall list based on seniority by position – violating its policy and depriving employees of their constitutionally protected property right to be recalled as schools reopened. The court awarded two years of lost wages and benefits, offset by unemployment compensation and other earnings received by the terminated employees during the time in question.

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In the News – January 12, 2013

A City of Possibility

GOOD Magazine names New Orleans one of its Top 20 Cities of Possibility
Times-Picayune – January 7, 2014
GOOD Magazine named New Orleans one of its Top 20 “Cities of Possibility.” GOOD measured “possibility” using criteria such as transportation, diversity, work/life balance, green space, and civic engagement. Atlanta was the only other American city chosen.

Top Education Stories from 2013

The Times-Picayune reviewed the top education stories of 2013. Here are the highlights.

Top 5 New Orleans Stories

  • Percent of students in failing schools drops below 6%.
  • Charter enrollment now tops 90%.
  • OPSB’s behavior undermines its credibility, and no charters vote to return to local control.
  • Serving special needs students is still a challenge, but centralized expulsion system improves transparency and fairness.
  • Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux gets involved.

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