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Five Recovery School District Charters May Return To Local School Board

When the Recovery School District was created in 2003, it was supposed to temporarily take over failing schools, then return them to local control once they'd turn around. Later the law changed, and now schools get to decide whether they want to go back. So far, most have said no. But now that's changing.

Every year, eligible schools vote whether or not to transfer to the Orleans Parish School Board. Until now, only one has: Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School, in the ninth ward. But this year is different. The OPSB made some changes. It added a permanent superintendent after a long search and a new set of policies focused on charter schools. That's made moving back more desirable. In the latest round of votes, which concluded March 1, five schools opted to transfer.

One of those was KIPP Renaissance High School. "We felt that this was the right time to take one school and start to actually not just in theory think about governance but to start to really work through what are all the issues that we need to solve as a larger community to get a unified governance system," says Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, CEO of KIPP New Orleans Charter Schools.

Sametta Brown is CEO of New Beginnings Schools Foundations, which voted to send back its two eligible schools: Lake Area New Tech Early College High School and Pierre A. Capdau Charter School. "Right now our [state school board] is in Baton Rouge. So the parents' voice is in Baton Rouge. I think our families deserve and want to be able to speak to a local elected board. Although we will maintain our individual board, I think the public feels that there should be an oversight that is local."

The other schools opting to return are Mary D. Coghill Charter School and Fannie C. Williams Charter School. They still have to negotiate contracts and get final approval from the state school board. 28 other eligible schools will remain in the RSD.

Support for WWNO and our education news comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Entergy Corporation.

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