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Morris Jeff will vote tonight on return to Orleans school board

Members of the Morris Jeff Community School’s board of directors will consider transferring back to Orleans Parish School Board oversight during a special meeting slated for Wednesday night.

The meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. at the school housed at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church on 3368 Esplanade Ave, will immediately follow a 6 p.m. Community Engagement Committee meeting, according to the school’s website.

The meeting will allow time for open public comment for parents and community members “to address the board on topics related to the oversight of Morris Jeff Community School,” according to an agenda circulated Tuesday.

By state law, schools transferred to the Recovery School District must remain under its jurisdiction for at least four years. After that, to be eligible to transfer back to the OPSB, a type 5 charter school must have a minimum 2012 performance score of 80 or above, and a 2013 score of 54 or above. The 2012 performance score is based on a 200-point scale while the 2013 score is based on a 150-point scale.

Morris Jeff, a school that closed after Hurricane Katrina and reopened as a type 5 charter under the Recovery School District in the 2010-11 school year, scored 84.6 in 2012 and 84.3 (the equivalent of 101.3 in the old system) in 2013.

Morris Jeff is one of 17 schools, run by 10 charter school operators, that are eligible to move from the state-run Recovery School District to the parish school board.

During a board meeting in late November, members and school officials had a preliminary discussion about the subject, and weighed some of the pros and cons of transferring out of the Recovery School District.

“If the board had to vote today, my concern is that we don’t need a distraction from where we’re headed right now,” Principal Patricia Perkins said in November. “We know how things are operating now and we’re not complaining about them.”

She acknowledged that the RSD doesn’t “want to be in the business of running schools forever,” but she also expressed reservations about the OPSB’s readiness to take on new schools.

Board Secretary Jennifer Weishaupt said in November that she wanted the board to do research before coming to Wednesday’s meeting, in order to make an informed decision.

“We can have all the positives and negatives as viewed by all the different stakeholders,” Weishaupt said.

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