Recovery School District

Today, for the first time, a charter school board voted to transfer from the Recovery School District back to the Orleans Parish School Board.

When the Recovery School District was created in 2003, the directive was clear: take over failing schools, turn them around, then transfer them back to the Orleans Parish School Board.

But now charter school boards decide whether to transfer to local control or stay in the state-run RSD. Until now, no eligible schools have returned to OPSB.

Mallory Falk / WWNO

This weekend New Orleans voters decide whether to extend and redirect a property tax to fund school maintenance. The measure seems simple: set aside money so schools don't fall into disrepair. But the millage vote reflects a power struggle in New Orleans schools.

Last month, a banner started appearing outside schools. It features a racially diverse group of kids, with crisp jeans and wide smiles. Each gives a big thumbs up. The accompanying text: Our children, our schools. Not a tax increase. Vote December 6.

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will be reviewing the shrinking budget for New Orleans schools.

The board is meeting Tuesday to start talks about the Recovery School District.

The Lens is reporting that the RSD operating budget has plunged from $304 million in 2009-2010 to $20 million for next year.

The reduction is not surprising. New Orleans is the country’s first all-charter school district, and the per-pupil funding that went to the RSD will now go to charter organizations.

When Failing Schools Close, Results Are Mixed

Jan 8, 2014
Janaya Williams / The Lens

Last year, the Recovery School District closed four elementary schools in New Orleans because of poor performance, affecting about one thousand students, who had to find another school this year.

Now, state officials have released grades for many of the new schools those students are enrolled in. The question is whether those students who were forced to change schools ended up at better schools than the ones they left.

mahlness / Creative Commons

The state-run Recovery School District took over nearly all New Orleans public schools after Hurricane Katrina. Soon, it won't run any. It will, however, oversee dozens of charter schools, including 17 local schools which recently decided they wanted to stay in the state system instead of returning to the local school board.

Lissandra Melo / <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-121588291/stock-photo-locker-room.html?src=I5BauM-UKx4diJFZCV45vw-1-8">Shutterstock</a>

Seventeen state-run charter schools in the Recovery School District will decide in the next two months whether to switch to the oversight of the Orleans Parish School Board. A list of eligible schools will be presented at a state education board meeting Wednesday.

Last year, many charter schools who were able to move turned that deal down, because it would mean they would lose their status as independent districts. That problem has since been resolved; a new law lets them stay independent.  

The state Recovery School District currently runs seven schools in north Baton Rouge. The RSD is planning to put new charter schools on those campuses next year.

Last week, as reported in The Advocate, the RSD hosted presentations by charter providers vying for a slot.

Ahead of those presentations, the civic group Better Baton Rouge handed the RSD a community compact, outlining what some residents want from schools in their neighborhood.

The state agency that runs most New Orleans public schools is reporting a small improvement in scores for students taking the ACT college entrance exam.

The average composite score on the ACT for students in the Recovery School District's New Orleans schools rose four-tenths of a point from 16.4 to 16.8 from 2011 to 2012.

Statewide, the average composite score was 20.3, up from 20.2.

While the state score is higher, the Recovery District notes that the increase was larger for the New Orleans schools.

A group of L.B. Landry High School alumni is taking the state to court over plans to merge the campus with another high school, O. Perry Walker.

The Times-Picayune reports the case could be the first test of a law that requires community input on any changes in the way state-controlled schools are governed.

The state ethics board has deferred a decision on whether state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Kira Orange-Jones can keep her elected seat and her job as executive director of the New Orleans branch of Teach for America.

Alainna Giacone, spokeswoman for the ethics board, said Friday that Orange-Jones' attorney asked for the postponement until the panel's August meeting.

Pages