Skip to main content

BESE Report December, 2012

BESE okays course providers

Decision made despite court ruling

Despite a ruling from a district court judge that its funding mechanism is unconstitutional, the state education board is moving forward with a plan to provide courses to public school students through nontraditional, nonpublic venues.

At the recommendation of Superintendent of Education John White, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to approve applications from 45 “course providers.” The course provider program was established in Act 2 of 2012, which was challenged in court by the Louisiana Federation of Teachers and others.

Last week, 19th Judicial District Judge Tim Kelley ruled that the state’s plan to pay the providers through public education’s Minimum Foundation Program would violate the state constitution.

The constitution, Judge Kelley ruled, reserves MFP funds strictly for public elementary and secondary schools and school systems. A number of private schools, corporations and organizations have applied to be course providers.

Defending his recommendation, White said that the law requires him to approve course providers who meet the qualifications established by the state, even if there is no funding stream available to pay them.

White said that it will be up to the legislature to find an alternate source of funding for the program, which is slated to go into effect in the 2013-14 school year.

Vote delayed on plan to limit mandates

BESE members concerned about the scope of a plan to reduce state mandates on local school districts delayed action until January, giving them more time to study the proposal.

Superintendent of Education John White said his planned revisions to Bulletin 741, the Handbook for School Administratrors, are intended to give school systems more flexibility. Bulletin 741 sets rules and guidelines for districts and local school boards with regard to health and safety, administration, hiring and firing, credit earned by students, and various other topics.

Critics noted that a couple of changes in White’s plan would reduce or eliminate the need for guidance counselors and librarians in public schools. The changes would allow for alternative methods of earning Carnegie credits via standardized test or portfolio, among the more than 150 other changes proposed for the bulletin.

Board Member Holly Boffy said that she had insufficient time to study the wide range of proposed changes prior to this week’s meeting. A majority agreed with her request to defer the agenda item till next month in order to review the material.

Board receives updates on Pre-K standards

BESE received updates regarding the development of Pre-K quality framework standards that will be implemented in order to comply with Act 3 of the 2012 Session. This month the Board merely received a report regarding the framework, and will likely approve rules to enforce the new across-the-board standards for Pre-K education next month.

Exemptions for pre-K lottery rules okayed

The board approved special exemptions to the school lottery rules within the Recovery School District that will allow some schools to directly draft students that participate in on-site Pre-K programs into their kindergarten classes.

This exemption from the lottery could present problems since it tracks Pre-K students into the charters, bypassing the open lottery system, which is in place to prevent discriminatory admissions practices.
New Orleans charters revoked

On the recommendation of the Department of Education, BESE revoked charters of from New Orleans which received School Performance Scores below the allowable level.
Charters were revoked for Benjamin E. Mays Preparatory School, Pride College Preparatory Academy, Crocker Arts and Technology School and the Intercultural Charter School. The schools will lose their charters at the end of the 2012-13 academic year.

Share This