As executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association, on behalf of the 69 locally elected school boards in the state, we urge Gov. John Bel Edwards to sign into law a series of bills that were passed by the Legislature during the regular session. Specifically, we urge that Senate Bill 260 and Senate Bill 262 by Sen. Dan “Blade” Morrish; and, Senate Bill 477 and Senate Bill 270 by Sen. Gerald Boudreaux become law without delay.

SB 260 repeals the provisions in Louisiana law allowing for what are termed “local charter authorizers.” Local charter authorizers are private corporations that could have been given the authority to issue charters to other private corporations to operate “public” charter schools. These schools would be entitled to the same state and local education dollars to which any other “public” school would be entitled. Other “public” charter schools are created in accordance with a charter issued by either a locally elected school board or the elected state board of education. The legislation repeals “local charter authorizers” and leaves the current process in place for charter applicants. The local charter authorizer concept was a bad idea that has not been acted upon and needs to be removed from Louisiana law.

SB 262, SB 477 and SB 270 were crafted via collaboration of a wide range of education stakeholders. SB 262 continues the current rules for the state accountability system for public schools to provide for a true transition year under the new Louisiana content standards that are anticipated to replace Common Core. SB 477 modifies the value-added model program of teacher evaluation, currently on hold, to provide that more of a teacher’s evaluation can be factors other than the state’s high-stakes exams that students take each spring. SB 270 provides a workable solution to data privacy concerns for public schools and public charter schools by requiring local school districts and charter schools to enter into contracts to share basic student residency information so all parties can ensure funding really does follow the child.

These bills each improve public education in a way that was strongly supported by a bipartisan effort of the Legislature and meaningful collaboration by a number of stakeholders. LSBA appreciates the efforts of the Governor’s Office in facilitating the collaborative efforts. Gov. Edwards is sincerely urged to sign SB 260, SB 262, SB 270 and SB 477 into law without delay.

Scott Richard

LSBA executive director

Baton Rouge