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Vote tonight, but little support for moving Collegiate Academies to parish control

The governance committee of Collegiate Academy’s board of directors met Tuesday night to discuss whether to remove Sci Academy from the state’s Recovery School District and place it under the oversight of the Orleans Parish School Board.

Sci Academy is the only of Collegiate Academy’s three schools that qualified to move to governance by the parish school board. To be eligible, schools must have been under RSD oversight for four years and must have achieved a 2012 school performance score of at least 80 and a 2013 score of at least 54.

Collegiate Academies President Morgan Carter-Ripski reported that a survey was sent to all staff and parents to gather input on the decision. Of more than 400 parents contacted, 12 responded and only one supported the move to OPSB oversight. Of the 40 staff contacted, 16 supported staying under RSD’s control, with one teacher favoring a shift to OPSB governance.*

Carter-Ripski said concern about political meddling by the elected parish board was cited as a reason to resist the move; there were also questions about the wisdom of splitting the organization’s schools between two jurisdictions.

The prevailing view seemed to be that “if it’s not broke don’t fix it,” Carter-Ripski said.

“I still have some concerns with OPSB and the politics,” said board member Bill Langenstein, “but I don’t think they have the integrity problems they’ve had in the past.”

Carter-Ripski said that last year charters were required to hold public meetings to gather input on governance choices, but this year outreach was optional. She said that meetings of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization are generally well attended and normally would provide an opportunity to discuss the issue. However, no meeting fell within the timeframe of the vote to return, she said.

The committee requested that the governance issue be made a permanent part of the PTO’s fall meetings.

Carter-Ripski said no one from Collegiate Academies attended a meeting with OPSB this year, although they did attend last year’s mandatory meeting. OPSB Assistant Superintendent of Charter Schools Kathleen Padian attended Collegiate Academies’ regularly scheduled November board meeting to highlight new legislation that would mean less change for schools accepting OPSB governance.

The board will vote on the governance issue tonight at their regularly scheduled December board meeting. The vote is the only item on the agenda.

Board members Langenstein, Diana Lewis, Susan Norwood and Jonathan Wilson attended the committee meeting.

*The sentence corrects inaccurate information in the version of the story first published.

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