RSD superintendent recommends closing Lagniappe Academies charter school

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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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

    What was the Lagniappe board member’s quote when initially deciding to remain under RSD control? “Nobody likes change except a wet baby.” This Lagniappe fiasco is yet another one in a string of RSD mistakes – certainly not confined to Lagniappe. A charter was awarded to Lagniappe, but why in the first place? There was no school. There was no building. Post-Katrina, the Winn-Dixie grocery store chain closed, and there was an empty parking lot. How long is the public and the Louisiana legislature going to allow the RSD to make 5-to-10 year mistakes at public school students’ expense? Dobard was Paul Pastorek’s go-fer. Why is Dobard still here? He is symptomatic of state-control problems and the incompetence that continues to plague our city. New Orleans is not a conquered territory, contrary to what the State of Louisiana would have you and us believe. We did not lose the war. Wake up! 03/06/2015 2:04 AM

  • nickelndime

    You mean the overpaid Lagniappe CEO (“CityBusiness”), who has been reporting (dog-and-pony show) to the board at monthly Lagniappe board meetings, has “left the portables”? So, who will run the school? A Caucasian board member? The Vietnamese CFO? The African American Dean of Students? Well, isn’t that grand? Holy Bat Crap, BatMan, I’ve got it. The RSD will do the “Miller-McCoy Shuffle” and assign two administrators (formerly employed by the RSD) to oversee the school. Vera Triplett is already on payroll at Miller-McCoy, so she’s out, boys! 03/06/2015 2:16 AM