AMITE — The Tangipahoa Parish School Board formally opposed the potential approval of New Schools for Baton Rouge as a local charter school authorizer Tuesday — a move other school boards are expected to replicate in the coming days.
New Schools for Baton Rouge, an education-focused nonprofit, has applied to the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to become the state’s first private entity with authority to approve new charter schools, a role historically reserved for BESE and local school boards.
The resolution — which the Louisiana School Boards Association provided to 14 school districts in East Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, East and West Feliciana and other parishes — urges BESE to decline to grant that designation to New Schools for Baton Rouge. The East Feliciana School Board adopted the resolution Tuesday night.
But the hope is for the Legislature to revamp or repeal the 2012 law changes that created the designation in the first place, according to an email LSBA Executive Director Scott Richard sent to the school districts Monday.
“It is important that local school boards and local school system leadership teams communicate with area legislators, area BESE members and the state executive branch/governor — the need to readdress this matter in the upcoming legislative session,” Richard wrote in the email.
Tangipahoa School Board member Rose Dominguez said Tuesday that the creation of a local charter authorizer would mean new charter schools could be opened “without any conversations at all with the local school district” and without any accountability to the School Board or its constituents.
The school system already is projected to lose $899,692 this year in the local revenue portion of state funding that follows the parish’s students to other public schools, including charter schools, Dominguez said. The district cannot afford to lose any more, she said.
“It’s pretty clear that the proposed initiative is not good for local districts and their resources,” Dominguez said. “(BESE is) trying to hire someone else to do their job, basically.”
The resolution was approved without opposition.
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