Orleans Parish School Board Superintendent of Schools Presents Recommendation’s for Charter Applications for Spring 2018
Unification Advisory Committee Honored for Assistance in Unification Process
NEW ORLEANS – (June 7, 2018) – At the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) board business meeting on Thursday, June 7, the Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. presented his recommendations on the Spring Charter Applications to the OPSB. The board honored members of the Unification Advisory Committee (UAC) for their assistance in planning for the transition of all public schools to come under the jurisdiction of the OPSB starting on July 1. Additionally this evening, the OPSB dedicated its board room to Dr. Everett J. Williams in honor of his service to education in Orleans Parish.
Superintendent’s Recommendations for Charter School Applications
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. presented his recommendations on the Spring Charter School Applications to the school board. In total, four organizations received a recommendation regarding their application to begin a new school (Type 1 – New Start), or transform an existing charter school under a new operator (Type 1 – Transformation). They are as follows:
Summaries of both the independent evaluator and Superintendent’s recommendations as well as full applications will be available online at https://opsb.us/schools/open-a-school/spring-2018-opsb-charter-application-cycle/.
In January, the OPSB issued a Request for Applications (RFA) for the spring cycle. Applications undergo a rigorous evaluation by an independent evaluator as well as the Superintendent of Schools. This cycle’s applications were reviewed by the National Association of Charter School Authorizers. All applicants are also permitted to present their proposals at a public hearing, which was held on May 15 at the Orleans Parish School Board Room.
The OPSB has until the July Board Business Meeting on Thursday, July 19 to contest the Superintendent’s recommendations. If no contest is brought forth the recommendations will be confirmed and the applications either denied or approved accordingly.
Currently, nearly all public school students attend charter schools in New Orleans. Only nonprofit organizations may hold charters in Louisiana and application teams must include at least three Louisiana teachers certified by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
OPSB Honored the Unification Advisory Committee for Guidance, Assistance in Unification Process
The OPSB honored members of the Unification Advisory Committee (UAC) for their assistance in planning for the transition of all public schools to come under the jurisdiction of the district starting on July 1. This will be the first time the OPSB will have full oversight of all Orleans Parish public schools since Hurricane Katrina. The OPSB currently oversees 41 schools; however, once unification is complete and the remaining schools' transition from the oversight of the state’s Recovery School District (RSD), the OPSB will oversee more than 80 schools across the New Orleans area.
Formed in May 2016, the UAC was charged with developing the Unification Transition Plan for Orleans Parish public schools. The committee is comprised of representatives from charter operators and key education advocacy organizations. Those members are:
Current UAC Members
Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr., OPSB Superintendent
Kunjan Narechania, RSD State Superintendent
Sharon Clark, Charter Director for Sophie B. Wright Charter School
Jay Altman, CEO of FirstLine Schools
Kelly Batiste, CEO/Principal of Fannie C. Williams Charter School
Rene Lewis-Carter, CEO of Algiers Charter School Association
Jamar McKneely, CEO of InspireNOLA Charter Schools
Erika McConduit, President/CEO of Urban League of Greater New Orleans
Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise, CEO of KIPP New Orleans Schools
Dr. Doris Roche-Hicks, CEO/Principal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School
Dr. Armand B. Devezin, OPSB Deputy Chief of Administration & Diversity
Alexina Medley, former Principal of Warren Easton Charter High School
Deidre Johnson Burel, former Executive Director of Orleans Parish Education Network
Patrick Dobard, former RSD Superintendent
Nicolette London, former OPSB Chief Network/LEA Officer
OPSB Board Room Dedicated to Former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Everett Williams
Today, the OPSB dedicated its boardroom to Dr. Everett J. Williams in honor of his service to education in Orleans Parish. In 1985, the OPSB unanimously chose Dr. Williams to serve as the city’s first African-American superintendent of schools.
For over 35 years, Dr. Williams served as an administrator at some of New Orleans’ most important institutions of public learning, including McDonogh 35 High School and Carter G. Woodson Junior High School. Dr. Williams also served as Superintendent of Area 1 Schools and Auxiliary Services.
As superintendent, Dr. Williams created various programs and initiatives, such as Dollars for Scholars and the Superintendent’s Academic Awards. He pushed for quality education within New Orleans and won taxpayer approvals for significantly more classroom resources.
Aside from his work with New Orleans education, Dr. Williams also dedicated his time to a number of non-profit organizations. He served on and chaired numerous boards including Xavier University, Loyola University, Children’s Hospital, University Hospital, Boy Scouts of America, Crimestoppers and UNITY of Greater New Orleans. Dr. Williams received a St. Louis Medallion and the Pope John Paul II Award for a lifetime of service to the church, schools and New Orleans community.
2019 Fund Balance Appropriation to General Fund Budget – Central
The board voted to adopt Resolution 13-18 authorizing the allocation of $812,890.00 from the Orleans Parish School Board's general fund balance reserve to the 2019 General Fund Budget. This figure represents a 25 percent reduction from the prior year.
Revisions to Salary Scales
The OPSB has recently made adjustments to its salary scales. The changes were implemented with the goal of better allowing the district to continue to both attract and retain top talent. Currently, starting OPSB salaries rank toward the bottom compared to similar professions in the neighboring parishes.
To remain competitive, the board has voted to increase base salaries by five percent, maintain the OPSB stipend at $1,600 per year and alter the step progression for the following school-based positions: teachers, assistant principals, deans, paraeducators, school support positions, child nutrition, security officers, psychologists, appraisal social workers, speech pathologists and educational diagnosticians. Similar adjustments will also be implemented for employees in the central office.
OPSB Partnership Strategic Planning
The board approved a resolution supporting the development of a strategic plan for identifying and working with partner organizations to best serve the needs of students and families in a unified school district. The board accepted an offer of assistance from philanthropists, under the coordination of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, with retaining consultants to develop the plan, and empowering the Superintendent and administration to engage with said philanthropists to select the consultants and to apply the recommended plan in managing partnership work in a unified school district.
The OPSB currently oversees 41 schools, including 37 charter schools, and one educational program for students in secure care facilities. In July 2018 all public schools in New Orleans will again be under the jurisdiction of the OPSB.