NOLA 180, the board that oversees Langston Hughes in partnership with FirstLine Schools, attended a Family Connect meeting on Nov. 8 to seek feedback from parents about the school’s upcoming charter renewal.
Board member Dow Edwards presented parents with three options for Hughes. One is to turn in the school’s charter when it expires. Another is to write a letter to the state that says FirstLine is not in material breach of its contract with NOLA 180 (The contract states that NOLA 180 will assist FirstLine in securing the charter to run Hughes.) The third option is to hire a new management organization or CEO.
“We need to raise money for books,” parents said repeatedly. Edwards encouraged parents to get involved, but then redirected their attention to the first option. “Does anyone have a strong feeling that they do not want FirstLine to continue to run and manage the school?” he asked. Parents agreed that they did not have many other options and that FirstLine has not given them any reason to say no.
Parents and board members leaned more towards the second option that basically means that Hughes would continue to run as it does today. And even if FirstLine obtains Hughes’ charter, two members from NOLA 180 would join the FirstLine board and provide input and continuity.
Before the meeting adjourned, board member Kathleen Padian told parents that the final decision on who runs a charter school is made by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. NOLA 180 is simply following procedure, but with a recommendation that FirstLine should continue on with the new charter for Hughes.
The board’s monthly meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. Nov. 29 at Langston Hughes.