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Live blog recap: OPSB discusses school enrollment standards

The Orleans Parish School Board has packed a lot into the year’s last round of committee meetings, including discussion of the common enrollment requirements for all of its chartered and traditional schools. The meetings started at 1 p.m. Thursday, and I live-blogged them here.

In November, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education gave preliminary approval to a unified enrollment process in Orleans Parish, despite opposition from charters that selectively enroll and have specialized missions.

Many of the School Board’s charter schools, as well as BESE-authorized schools such as New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy and Lycee Francais, fall into those two groups. The Louisiana Department of Education has an April deadline to figure out separate requirements for them.

Board members Cynthia Cade and Ira Thomas brought up the lack of those separate requirements at the meeting. (View highlights from that conversation in the live blog below.)

Other items of note on the agendas:

The property committee considered the transfer of the Henry W. Allen School building, which houses New Orleans Charter Science and Math High School, to Lusher Charter School. Once Sci High moves to a new location, Lusher would use the building as an additional elementary school building.

Lusher’s elementary school is located at its Willow Street building and the Jewish Community Center on St. Charles Avenue. According to a proposed agreement between Lusher and the School Board, the St. Charles Avenue location has run out of space.

But the Audubon Charter School community rallied at the meeting to protest the move, with many speakers saying that the School Board had promised the building to Audubon back in 2008. Board member Lourdes Moran and several others said the discussion was premature because the School Board doesn’t control the building. (The Recovery School District controls the building under the authority of Act 35, the law authorizing the state-run district’s takeover of most Orleans Parish schools.)

The committee ultimately voted to defer the motion.

The policy committee also discussed the validity of a cheating investigation at Robert Moton Charter School. In August, an Orleans Parish School Board investigation concluded that a teacher had shown fourth-graders some of the writing portion of the state’s LEAP test. The board overseeing Moton investigated and concluded that no cheating had taken place. But the school was asked to present preventative cheating measures to the Orleans Parish School Board.

That didn’t take place Thursday, but Moton principal Paulette Bruno did question the validity of the Orleans board’s probe, alleging that the investigators had not followed School Board protocol. Edward Morris, general counsel for the Orleans board, said that an independent audit found that the board committed no errors.

The committee ultimately voted to discuss the issue in an executive session Tuesday, citing the threat of impending litigation.

Due to a lack of quorum in committee meetings, the board moved to its Tuesday meeting a discussion of its 2012 audit and a vote on nominations for the Master Plan Oversight Committee, a group charged with overseeing the $2 billion school facilities master plan.

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