Young charter school, Bricolage, to get John McDonogh campus on Esplanade

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Two-year-old Bricolage Academy has been selected to run the storied John McDonogh campus, and the historic high school on Esplanade Avenue should reopen in a few years as a fully renovated kindergarten-through-seventh grade school.

Bricolage is authorized by the Orleans Parish School Board, so that means the campus will return to the board’s control. It has been under the auspices of the state-run Recovery School District. The decision of what school would get the campus was announced jointly today by the board and the RSD.

The possible return to the School Board has been a point of contention in the search for a new operator at John Mac.

The John McDonogh Sr. High School Steering Committee sued the state over the matter, arguing that the state board of education had violated state law when it voted to give control of the school’s fate to the RSD.* The self-appointed committee says its a public-education advocacy group founded by former students, parents and other school supporters, and its goal is to have the school become a direct-run high school operated by the School Board.

The School Board has also contended that the Recovery School District could not open a new school in the city.

The campus became vacant last summer when its operator, Future is Now, turned in its charter.

“We are excited that the historically significant John McDonogh building will house a school that offers a novel approach to education in New Orleans,” RSD Superintendent Patrick Dobard said.

The kindergarten and first-grade Bricolage now rents space at a synagogue. But the growing school is set to move into the Holy Rosary campus this summer as it adds second grade. It likely will remain there until John Mac’s multi-million-dollar renovation is complete.

If all goes as scheduled, Bricolage would open as a kindergarten through seventh grade school for the 2018-19 school year.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the Orleans Parish sued the state over its process of awarding John McDonogh to the RSD.

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