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Live coverage: Cypress parents meet with Orleans Parish school district officials to discuss future of their charter school

Cypress Academy families have been on a rollercoaster this week. Sunday, they learned their small charter school would close for good Wednesday. Then the Orleans Parish school district announced it will take over the school and keep it open next school year.

The board decided to close the three-year-old school because it’s running out of money.

At a meeting Tuesday night, parents asked the district to cover the funding gap. Assistant Superintendent Adam Hawf told families there are rules about how district money can be used, but he promised to provide more answers at a district-hosted parent meeting tonight.

The meeting, to be held at the school at 4217 Orleans Ave, will start at 6 p.m. The Lens will cover it live here.

The parents’ request raises larger questions about how special education is funded in New Orleans and what the district should do with its reserve funds. Cypress has more students with disabilities than the average school in the city. Those students typically cost more to educate.

The city’s first round of the enrollment lottery, called OneApp, closed months ago. Many parents said the short notice gave them no options to find another school. Cypress had arranged for its students to attend a school that’s part of another charter organization.

Tuesday night, Hawf suggested the district could give Cypress students priority in the second round of the enrollment lottery. But seats at the most desirable schools are already full for next fall.

The district ordered Cypress’ board to surrender its charter by Friday, and the board had scheduled a meeting to do so Wednesday.

But at Tuesday’s meeting, parents urged the Cypress board to find a way to keep the school open. The meeting was canceled.

Live coverage, 6 p.m. Thursday

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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.