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Orleans Parish School Board Approves Unification Plan

Mallory Falk
OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. speaks at a press conference about school unification.

The Orleans Parish School Board approved a plan to reunify New Orleans public schools. That is, transfer Recovery School District charters back to the local school board. But this isn’t a return to the old system. It’s a new model for governing schools.

First, some background. This spring, the state passed a law that requires all 49 RSD charters to move back to the OPSB by 2018. Now the local school board will oversee these schools, rather than the state. Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. told the press he's excited about the change.

“Eleven years and one day after Hurricane Katrina devastated our city, I have the honor of presenting to the Orleans Parish School Board a plan to redefine public education here in the great city of New Orleans,” he said.

The New Orleans education system will become the first of its kind: made up almost entirely of charter schools, overseen but not directly run by a democratically-elected school board. Charter school leaders will continue to call the shots at their own schools. They will make hiring and firing decisions and set the curriculum and calendar. The school board will serve as an authorizer, opening, closing and evaluating schools.

The new plan lays out a $20 million budget and timeline for that transition.

Support for WWNO's Education Desk comes from Entergy Corporation.

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