Lagniappe charter votes to return to general oversight of Orleans School Board

Lagniappe Academies today became the second Recovery School District charter school to decide to leave the state-run district and return to the Orleans Parish School Board.

Board member Dan Henderson said after conversations with CEO Kendall Petri, the board decided to reconsider its November decision, when they voted to remain with the RSD. The vote to come under the general oversight of the School Board was 5-0.

“I must admit, it was a hurried meeting,” Henderson said of the November meeting.

Monday is the deadline for making the decision to switch oversight agencies. All other eligible school board have voted on the issue, and none is scheduled to have a meeting for possible consideration.

As a relatively small school, enrolling 180 students, board members thought joining the local School Board would give them greater access to more budget-friendly cooperative services. Henderson gave the example of nursing services for the school, which they currently contract out.

The Lagniappe board will continue to run the school, setting policy and making budget decisions, which is in line with the independence sought by charter operators. Whether charters are associated with the Recovery School District or the Orleans Parish School Board, the agencies provide only general oversight and arrange for some coordination if sought by the schools.

Board member Dan Forman stressed that the Recovery School District had been designed as a temporary, turnaround district, and that schools in good academic shape were always supposed return to the School Board.

Henderson lauded the School Board’s highly graded charters.

“It hit me between the eyes, that that’s who we ought to be associated with,” Henderson said of OPSB.

A 2010 state-level policy change put the decision to return into the hands of charter schools themselves, rather than an automatic return process.

Of 36 Recovery School District charter schools eligible to return to local control next year, only one other had chosen to do so.

As of midday Friday, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Executive Director Shan Davis said the state has only received notice from one school wishing to transfer to Orleans Parish. That came from Friends of King’s board of directors, which voted to return Dr. Martin Luther King Charter School to the Orleans Parish School Board beginning in the 2015-16 school year.

Henderson, adding to Forman’s point about academic recovery, said “We looked down and said, ‘We’ve recovered.’ ”

The kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school received a C letter grade from the state this year. Henderson pointed out they barely missed a B.

With growing enrollment, Lagniappe is under pressure to find a larger campus and the lease it holds for land in Treme is up at the end of the summer. The school is housed in several portable classrooms there.

Board members seemed confident the Orleans Parish School Board would work with them to ensure the school had educational space.

“They are very aware of our issues,” Forman said.

Lagniappe will notify the state school board of its intent to return to OPSB and the school will work with the district to create an operating agreement. School Board and state approval are still necessary.

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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

    Where oh where will Lagniappe go when it leaves the closed Winn-Dixie parking lot on St. Louis Street? (My ASP is laughing so hard he fell off the chair.) I am trying to pick my ASP up but now I am laughing too. Isn’t this school missing “grades,” like, did they lose them or were they stolen? 180 students – how does Lagniappe pay for non-classroom administrators and other non-teaching personnel, plus buses!? This is a financial “miracle” – and the board is just figuring out what it can’t afford. What! Are they using CC “accounting”? 01/02/2015 10:47 PM

  • nickelndime

    As you recall, the RSD delayed charter renewal for Lagniappe, and you might also recall what one board member said previously about “change,” so may we conclude that Lagniappe is a “wet baby” in disguise? And don’t be surprised if there are a couple of other problems. LMAspO ! (that’s my pet snake ASP). 01/02/2015 10:53 PM

  • nickelndime

    “We’ve recovered”! Recovered from what? Their own incompetence? Lagniappe did not have a prior existence. It was “created” by the RSD in another one of its examples of non-profit favoritism. The school had no location from the get-go, and the OPSB is still approving new charters (for which it already lacks buildings). The charters that have buildings (other than MLK) are remaining with the RSD. If anybody has a strategic plan, maybe they would like to share it with OPSB central office administrators – who do not appear to have a clue other than their next pay date. 01/02/2015 11:04 PM

  • nickelndime

    Ira Thomas, Sr. is the OPSB point person for the MLK transfer. Substantial! He’s a fighter. Who is the OPSB member who is the point person for Lagniappe? Seniors trump Juniors – they always do. Get on this, Marta. “Let’s get it started in here.” 01/03/2015 1:08 AM

  • nickelndime

    Ira Thomas, Sr. was at the board meeting when the MLK vote was cast. Who is the OPSB member who is the point person for Lagniappe? Get back with us on that, will you? Somebody (board member) from the OPSB was NOT at that Lagniappe board meeting during which the transfer was voted – and should have been. Something is lacking – character? Why am I not surprised? 01/03/2015 1:31 AM

  • nickelndime

    Before Lagniappe opened, I called the phone number that was on a billboard that was visible from N. Claiborne Avenue. I told the “chick” who answered the phone that I wanted to visit the facility – so where is it? She was explaining to me that the school would be in portables (and she started describing the area – St. Louis Street, etc.) and I said, “YOU MEAN ON THE BACK LOT OF THE CLOSED WINN-DIXIE STORE?” (I was starting to crack up, but she couldn’t hear my ASP laughing in the background – that’s my pet snake ASP). The “chick” wouldn’t answer my question. Instead, she asked me for my phone number and said that the board president would get back with me. LMAspO! (Now, that’s what I call a joke!) 01/04/2015 12:38 AM

  • nickelndime

    Dreilinger, over at the TP (is the lady your contemporary?) says that the RSD charter, Lagniappe, is in Nolan Marshall, II ‘s OPSB District, but the Lagniappe Board meeting (at which they voted to “transfer” to the OPSB) was done sans Nolan or any OPSB “staff.” So much for the “personal” attention that was promised by the OPSB. I guess Padian was on vacation. If Padian is still employed, she can thank Sarah Usdin and her voting bloc (which includes Nolan Marshall, II). 01/04/2015 1:14 AM

  • nickelndime

    “ZuluPretzel02” on the TP site has indicated that Lagniappe held students back without notifying parents. Maybe this is the basis for the complaint of “missing grades.” If a school holds students back (fails to promote) and tests students at the wrong grade levels, then that would be a reason why the charter authorizer (the RSD) would defer charter renewal. Maybe this charter board (Lagniappe) got their “transfer” in ahead of the deadline (Monday, Jan. 5th), but is this in students’ best interests and was this what the OPSB intended? (Good Authorizer – Bad Authorizer). What are all of Lagniappe’s flaws? 01/04/2015 12:00 AM

  • HalfFullClass

    The best interest of the students. What an interesting concept NickieD,
    Why are you one of the few locals that has the nerve to call it like you see it?
    Granted we both post here without using our names. Why do we choose to anonymous?
    It appears that both MLK and Lagniappe have been “Authorizer Shopping”.
    Are they really looking for the authorizer that will better serve their students?

  • nickelndime

    That’s funny, HalfFullClass. Yes, we both post anonymously, and maybe we better keep it that way. My ASP (you know – my pet snake ASP) uses his real name, but after the rough start (bum rap) his relative got in The Garden of Eden with those “two” whiney humans (she did it – no, he did / good human-bad human), my ASP doesn’t think he has anything to lose. But maybe we do, huh?, HalfFullClass. 01/09/2015 9:25 PM

  • nickelndime

    (2012 IRS) – but it’s even more (2014) Hey “HalfFullClass,” catch the CityBusiness article on the “administrative” salaries for charter schools in New Orleans. Between Mickey and Kathy, I don’t know who is the bigger thief. Then, there is the rest of the list. Even ASP is LHAspO! 01/09/2015 11:59 PM

  • HalfFullClass

    Those 2012 figures are 2+ years old AND they reflect only the salaries that are reported on the schools’ 990’s (federally required documents that non-profits must submit annually). I have a neighbor that told me her administrative salary at a local charter was partially paid through a foundation that supports the school. This method allows non-profits to hide these salary extras because they are below the reporting (990) level.

    I am not qualified to offer an opinion on your “bigger thief” question.

    I CAN offer the opinion that the salaries of CEO’s, CFO’s, Human Capital, Principal, Director of Finance, President, Accountability Director, Special Education Officer, School Director, …… are out of control.

    choICE: Mickie L Exec Dir $258,007
    Gail N Sped Dir 125,136
    James F COO 109,386

    total 492,529

    FirstLie: Jay A HMFIC 150,537
    Joseph N COO 137,890
    Sabrina P Sch Head 100,128
    Suvi D Sch Head 100,090
    total 488,645

    rePay Gary R CEO 173,960
    reNew Kevin G President 156,487
    Tanya B Dir of Fin 118,224
    total 448,671

    Fiends of King Doris R/H CEO 182,073
    Lindsey M Principal 106,852
    Family of D R/H ??????
    total 288,925 plus plus

    now look @ New Schools for New Orleans:
    Maggie R Sch Op?? 137,141

    Michael S Ext Rel Off 131,419
    total 280,560

    That comes to a grand total of $1,526,685 for 14 warm bodies!!!!

    And they are so quick to point out the waste of OPSB. Take a look in the mirror charter vultures!

  • nickelndime

    You are too much for a HalfFullClass, “HalfFullClass,” and YES, I am aware that these 2012 figures are what is showing, but I had to work with what I had, and the 2012 IRS figures are the best I had. But YOU! LOOK AT YOU! Go ahead wit yo bad self. THANKS. ASP is hissing in delight. He has taken time out from his Mandarin lessons to review the numbers. I believe ASP is onto something! 01/12/2014 7:13 PM

  • nickelndime

    My ASP (that’s my pet snake ASP) has 2008 salaries for “Mickey the Landry” of Choice Foundation and FirstLine’s Stephen Rosenthal’s BFF, “Jay the Altman.” I can’t get anything out of ASP right now as he is so intent on comparing the tables, but when my ASP gets that focused, it means he is really onto something, not to mention those audit firms. And ASP is not overlooking the better half of the Riedlinger duo (once removed) either. Well! 01/12/2015 7:22 PM