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Board weighs charter transition options; transfer to FirstLine gains favor, pending community input

NOLA 180, the board that governs Langston Hughes Academy Charter School, met Oct. 10 to discuss that administrative transition made necessary by the pending expiration of the school’s charter.

Board co-president Dow Edwards identified two possible responses: One is to let the charter expire at the end of the fiscal year, June 30. The other, which Edwards said he prefers, is to to turn it over to FirstLine, the charter management network that partners with NOLA 180 to run Langston Hughes. A turnover checklist must be followed, Edwards said.

Board members agreed unanimously that they are happy with FirstLine. . The organization has lived up to the terms of its contract and met the board’s expectations. And because FirstLine is already running the school and intends to fulfill the mission of NOLA 180, the transition will be easier, members observed.

Still, some differences must be attended to, board members said.

D’Juan Hernandez spoke of “material differences” between the two options and said he would like a document clearly stating the terms and consequences of relinquishing versus terminating the charter.

Hernandez said he also would like to see public engagement on the transfer issue. The board should hear from parents and neighborhood residents before making a final decision, he said.

The board agreed that community participation is necessary to comply with public notice requirements.

The board resolved to send a letter of intent to the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. It tapped member Kathleen Padian to talk to other schools that have been through the process and then schedule a community meeting.

In a final item of business, the board authorized co-presidents Edwards and George Freeman to sign documents on behalf of the corporation.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.

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