RSD superintendent recommends closing Lagniappe Academies charter school

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Recovery School District Superintendent Patrick Dobard today recommended closing down Lagniappe Academies after a scathing report detailing special education violations was released by the state.

“Lagniappe failed to equitably and adequately serve its students and should no longer be allowed the privilege of serving the children of New Orleans,” Dobard said in a news release issued today.

Lagniappe has been under close watch by the state after special education violations were reported last fall. “This commitment to our students means having structures and systems in place to respond to violations of equity, particularly those that impact our students with special needs,” Dobard said.

A summary of the findings from three state monitors revealed the school did not have a dedicated special-education teacher and that students had not been consistently receiving special education.

The findings also said the school lacks procedures to identify students who need special-education services. In its fifth year, the 180-student charter school’s charter has been up for renewal for a few months, but the state has delayed action multiple times.

Lagniappe’s fate was again tabled in January after state board member Kira Orange Jones requested a comprehensive report regarding the special education violations.

A 160-plus page report released this week, told through numerous affidavits from parents and former staff members and data gathered by state officials, detailed special-education violations and apparent cover-up.

In early January, the RSD charter school voted to return to the auspices of the Orleans Parish School Board. The School Board has voted to accept the charter contingent upon its renewal from BESE. It is unclear what will happen to the charter school now.

BESE committees will meet Thursday and the full board meets Friday.

The announcement comes days after the first-round deadline for OneApp, the city’s centralized enrollment system. Should Lagniappe close, its students may be granted priority in the OneApp process, as has happened with other closing schools.

Families can expect additional details tomorrow, Dobard wrote.

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