Four charter high schools are now eligible to return to Orleans Parish School Board

Based on recently released state scores, four Recovery School District high schools are eligible to return to the control of the Orleans Parish School Board next summer.

KIPP Renaissance, Landry-Walker, Sci Academy and Lake Area New Tech Early College high schools can each transfer to local control. The boards of these charter schools will make the decision this winter.

Other schools overseen by the RSD likely will be deemed eligible in early December when the state releases scores for elementary, middle and combination high schools. Only high schools with ninth through 12th grades have been scored so far.

One decade ago, the state seized more than 100 Orleans Parish schools for poor academic performance. In recent years, more than three dozen have met the requirements to return. But only one has made the switch.

The state-run Recovery School District was established in 2003 to temporarily take over and turn around struggling schools. The bulk of takeovers happened in 2005, and since then, the RSD closed several schools and handed the rest over to charter operators..

A state-level policy change in 2010 undid the automatic return process for academically “recovered” schools. Now each charter-school board makes the decision. Last year 36 of the Recovery School District’s 57 schools in Orleans Parish were eligible to move to the local board. Only one did.

In order to transfer back to the local school district, a school must achieve a school performance score of 54 in 2014 and 2015. A 54 is a D on the state’s letter-grade scale.

KIPP Renaissance High School boasted the highest gains in the city, moving from a D to a B.

KIPP spokesman Jonathan Bertsch said the network will consider the transfer at its February board meeting. KIPP has had eligible elementary schools in past years, but this is the first year Renaissance, its only high school, is eligible.

Landry-Walker High School dropped from a B to a D but is still eligible to return, as it was last year.

The CEO of Algiers Charter Schools Association, which oversees Landry-Walker, said his board will wait for elementary school performance scores to be released.

“We’ll be waiting until we get that before we take any action or give it any serious consideration,” CEO Adrian Morgan said.

Lake Area New Tech Early College High School is also eligible again. Last year, the New Beginnings Schools Foundation, which runs Lake Area along with three elementary schools, discussed moving the high school to OPSB.

Orleans Parish schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. went to New Beginnings’ August meeting to talk about the process. Lake Area was eligible last year and the board appeared to have voted to move the high school, but they later said that wasn’t the case.

New Beginnings CEO Sametta Brown said the network is proud of Lake Area’s accomplishments and eligibility.

“Our board is reviewing all options to see what is best for our students,” Brown wrote via email Monday.

Sci Academy, a B-rated Collegiate Academies high school, also is eligible again this year.

“Along with our board, we will carefully consider our options,” spokeswoman Zoey Reed said.

Charter school boards have until March 1 to publicly vote on a decision and inform BESE, OPSB and RSD. Last year, schools had an early January deadline.

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