Four charter organizations want to reopen Sarah T. Reed High School

Four charter organizations say they want to run Sarah T. Reed High School in eastern New Orleans when it reopens in the 2016-17 school year.

New Orleans College Prep, Einstein Charter School, Friends of King Schools and Collegiate Academies all responded to the Recovery School District’s request for applications. Letters of interest were due at close of business Friday.

The RSD shut down its five remaining direct-run schools, including Reed, at the end of the 2013-14 school year. The eastern New Orleans community has expressed a strong desire for a high school to reopen at Reed.

RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard initially promised that Reed students would be able to continue there through 2015. But after the state announced that it was phasing out the school, enrollment dropped so much that the school couldn’t offer a full range of classes.

The four groups will make presentations to the community and RSD staff in December about their plans for Reed.

The Recovery School District requires that Reed serve grades 9-12 when it’s fully open, although a charter operator could start with fewer grades and add more each year. The school must be open to all students in the city, and it must provide transportation and participate in the city’s unified application process, OneApp.

This year Reed is occupied by KIPP Renaissance High School as its site undergoes renovations.

Friends of King runs two charter schools — Dr. King Charter School for Science and Technology and Joseph A. Craig* Charter School.

New Orleans College Prep operates Crocker College Prep, Cohen College Prep and Sylvanie Williams College Prep.

Einstein Charter School enrolled 900 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade last year. Einstein is split between two campus after it took over the failing Intercultural Charter School at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year.

Collegiate Academies runs Sci Academy, Carver Prep and Carver Academy.

The RSD expects to announce its decision in February.

*Correction: An earlier version of this story said the King board operates Joseph S. Clark charter school. (Nov. 14, 2014)

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About Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned to New Orleans in the fall of 2014 after covering education for the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with majors in journalism and social welfare and a concentration in educational policy studies.

  • nickelndime

    That’s what I am TALKIN’ bout, Patrick. You run, boy. 4 is better than 3! Now, which one of these CMOs (New Orleans College Prep, Friends of King Schools, or Collegiate Academies), TO BE turned down for REED, will get the “rights” to operate John Mac? Reed was the harbinger for John Mac. Look at the CMO trail. The OPSB gets the leftovers (that’s Reed being run by Einstein, an OPSB-approved charter – turned CMO with the help of i3 federal funds co-administered by the RSD and Sarah Usdin’s NSNO), and then the RSD picks one of its own CMOs to run John Mac (the gold mine). It’s all there. Out there for public scrutiny. Community input? NO PROBLEM. LET ‘EM HAVE IT.

  • Lee Barrios

    The bogus rationale for not renovating JMac and letting the Alumni/community have it back, is that N.O. doesn’t need another high school. The real reason RSD won’t give JMac back to OPSB is of course because they want to put a charter in it. Once a charter is in, the law says that return to OPSB has to be mutual between BESE and the charter. This has to be one of the most blatant and obvious effort to steal school property and avoid the opening of a community school of all. Now BESE is saying that neither OPSB nor the community group should have the school because they haven’t submitted a plan or proposal which they haven’t done because RSD keeps saying the school won’t be ready for occupancy for several years and it was going to be returned to OPSB anyway. In the meantime they issued the RFA to get a charter in so the community can’t get it back. It is too bad that these issues ultimately end up in court. I think it should end up in criminal court this time.

  • nickelndime

    Pastorek set it in motion. He held control of school building leases as early as 2007. Very weak BESE board. Idiot lawmakers. The corruption grows. Back room deals on selecting charter operators – tied to federal grants, co-administered by RSD and sitting-OPSB member, Sarah Usdin’s (founder of New Schools for New Orleans) NSNO. Pro bono law firm, Barrasso, Usdin… represents CMO Choice Foundatuon as plaintiff in legal battle against Jindal’s opposition to PARCC. This is the tip of the iceberg, I see the FBI in my crystal ball.

  • nickelndime

    If four charter organizations (CMOs) submitted letters of interest to run Reed High School, who (among them) is signing the letters and why are decisions like this not being made in public business meetings? Look at the agendas – how is it being done (legally or not)? In accordance with Open Meetings Law or not? And, what if the RSD is “seeding” the process by getting particular CMOs to submit letters of interest, how do you suppose it (the RSD) is doing that? Reed is the harbinger for John Mac. Keep that in mind as well. Get back to the original question – why did the decision to submit a letter of interest not appear in a public meeting – action item?

  • nickelndime

    Einstein is the set-up – the given – the controlled variable. The RSD “seeded” the other three, one of which will be refused now but will be chosen to run John Mac. If the Feds nailed Dollar Bill and can take Renee’s pension, based on racketeering, it can do this too – if it gets motivated enough. There may be a LENS reporter who will pick up the clues or NOT. Either way, it will be in the “news.” Show me what you got! 11/17/2014 10:03 PM

  • nickelndime

    Some people say that Shawn Toranto, Einstein CEO, and Cyndi Nguyen, VIET CEO, do not get along. What do you think? Nguyen runs neighborhood association meetings out of the Einstein building on Cannes Street (Village de L’est), and Nguyen’s father is employed by Einstein. Not only that, but the new OPSB-authorized charter, set to open in 2015 (for Vietnamese immigrants – and other ELL students), will operate at VIET’s St. Brigid site – leased by VIET from the Archdiocese for $1.00 – is literally and figuratively, in Einstein’s backyard, and was achieved without nary a word from Einstein about its impact on enrollment on a neighboring charter school. I call this “taking care of business.”

  • nickelndime

    Okay – I’ve got another riddle, and it has to do with who is signing the letters of interest to run Sarah T. Reed High School, and who decides to submit the letters of interest. Now, we know that CEO Ben Kleban (New Schools for New Orleans intern – hand-picked by founder Sarah Usdin – now a sitting OPSB member), wrote a letter, and instead of addressing his letter to the RSD, he addressed it to the Michoud (DBA VIET, VAYLA-NO, maybe even the church MQVN and the MQVN-CDC – although Einstein’s CEO Toranto says she’s got the church’s backing…) “community” groups, which means that he would have signed it. But let’s look at the bigger picture. I haven’t seen the letters, but if the CEOs are signing the letters, shouldn’t the decision to send letters of interest have been made in public meetings by these CMO board of directors (board business meetings)? And, this is how we run into problems later because public decisions (decisions that involve public money and affect the public) are being made behind closed doors, on telephones, in emails, etc., and this is a violation of Open Meetings Law, not to mention violations of public trust.

    11/18/2014 6:55 PM

  • nickelndime

    Einstein Group, Inc., DBA Einstein Charter, an apparent favorite in the “Michoud Community” to run Reed High School (CEO Toranto submits letter of interest 11 days before deadline), appears to forget sometimes, okay maybe a lot, that its charter authorizer is the OPSB. And because of that very important, but overlooked fact, it was required to request PRIOR FORMAL approval from the OPSB (especially when it decided to take over a failing RSD school, as in the Intercultural Chater School (ICS), and even when it morphed from a single charter school to a CMO with federal i3 grant money. The i3 grant money was co-administered by the RSD and NSNO (Hello, founder and sitting OPSB member Sarah Usdin!). But this is exactly what Einstein did NOT do – unless one wants to count Deputy Superintendent of the Charter School Ofiice, Kathleen Padian, to be “The OPSB.” So, that means when the Einstein Board sat in CC’s Coffee on Esplanade Avenue (at the 12th hour) and voted to have the Einstein CEO, Shawn Toranto, sign off on the i3 grant application (CMO and the takeover), the OPSB hadn’t been properly and duly notified of Einstein’s intent. Follow the paper trail. Oh, that’s right, there is none. Padian failed to bring it up in committee, but then it appeared in front of the OPSB as an action item (amendment to Einstein Operating Agreement) in a board business meeting. This isn’t the end.

  • nickelndime

    The other shoe has dropped. The RSD has released its call for letters of interest and full applications from charter organizations to run John McDonogh Senior High School, affectionately known in the community as John Mac. 11/20/2014 2:57 PM