Officials say Hurricane Isaac caused no catastrophic damage to St. James Parish public schools, but the district needs to spend $500,000 to $750,000 for storm repairs.
Jim Mitchell, administrative director of business services for the district, told school board members Wednesday the Federal Emergency Management Agency would reimburse the district for at least 75 percent of eligible costs because the parish has been declared a disaster zone.
Schools closed by the drenching rains and gusty winds of Hurricane Isaac are beginning to reopen.
Officials say nine schools within the St. John the Baptist Parish School District reopened Monday with at least a 92 percent student attendance rate. District-wide attendance increased to almost 95 percent by Tuesday.
Superintendent of Schools Herbert Smith said employees have been "working tirelessly" to ensure a quick return to schools.
It was a major accomplishment in Chicago that teachers who used to walk out frequently had, for the past 25 years, managed to avoid a strike. But it's not surprising, many experts say, that things would fall apart now.
"I think it is a perfect storm," says Tim Knowles, head of the University of Chicago's Urban Education Institute. He says issues in Chicago — of tying teacher pay to student test scores, job security, longer school days and expanding charter schools, for example — are not unlike issues unions have grappled with in other cities, from New York to Los Angeles.
With the Chicago Teachers Union on strike, the Chicago Public Schools opened more than 140 sites Monday to help provide child care for students affected by the strike. Renee Montagne speaks with Lorraine Forte, editor-in-chief of Catalyst Chicago, a nonprofit watchdog covering education in the city. She visited a couple of schools on Monday that are providing child care, and also went to an alternate site at a local community center.
Louisiana's education department is soliciting ideas from nontraditional places, seeking to offer students new academic courses, skills training and work-based apprenticeships outside of public school classrooms.
The new "Course Choice" program will begin in fall 2013, after state education leaders choose from among the many applications from contracting groups, online course providers and colleges seeking state tax dollars to teach public school students.