A bill that would force the return of formerly failing public schools to the Orleans Parish School Board was trounced Monday in the Louisiana House.
The vote was 31 in favor and 60 opposed.
The legislation, House Bill 166, is aimed at moving schools now under the Recovery School District to the OPSB within one year after they are no longer deemed failing.
State Rep. Joe Bouie, D-New Orleans and sponsor of the bill, said such a transfer would adhere to a 2003 state law that set up the RSD to take over troubled schools for at least five years.
Bouie said current practices have turned what was supposed to be temporary into a permanent, state-run bureaucracy.
But Rep. Neil Abramson, D-New Orleans, said the district’s new superintendent has repeatedly said his system is not prepared to handle an influx of the charter schools that dominate the New Orleans public schools landscape.
“The Orleans Parish School Board is simply not ready,” Abramson said.
He said 33 of 34 charter schools have voted to remain under the RSD rather than return to the OPSB.
“There is consensus geographically, all across New Orleans.” Abramson said. “There is consensus racially. This is not a racial issue. And all of the schools, there is a consensus that they don’t want to return at this time.”
Bouie said that, during committee testimony, RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard declined to say when the schools would be ready to move back to the OPSB.
“Let those schools return when they are not failing,” he urged the House.