Frustration erupts after OPSB announces charter school program closures

Frustration erupts after OPSB announces charter school program closures

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Emotions ran high as parents and teachers learned the fate of their children’s school programs.

The Orleans Parish School Board announced several changes to charter school programs, and many of the superintendents' proposals were not well-received. The Board announced proposals to close four charter school programs at the end of the school year: McDonogh #32, Fisher Academy, Nelson Charter School and Cypress Academy.

Cypress Academy students will be guaranteed a spot next year at Foundation Prep, which will be housed at the Nelson building. The Board also started the revocation process for the Harney Charter School.

Joseph Bouie is a Louisiana state representative and a member of the Education Committee. He accused the Board of violating state law, saying the nature of charters is to replicate in other schools what works in high-performing school programs.

“What we should be doing for our community is realign our schools by taking those failing schools and doing what every other municipality is doing in our state and running them - not outsourcing them to someone else to educate our children,” said Bouie.

Bouie implored Superintendent Henderson Lewis to stop making decisions that harm New Orleans students.

“I appeal to you please do not charter to close another school,” said Bouie.

Wanda Romain is a teacher at Harney, one of the programs set to close. Romain fears at the core of this issue is a Board that doesn’t care for students and teachers.

“I became a teacher so I could give a student a path to their own good life, and this is hurting me…opening and closing schools is the death of a community in New Orleans,” she said.

And the chants shouted at the School Board show she’s not the only one with those concerns.

Closing the charter school programs is not necessarily a done deal. If two-thirds of the board go against the superintendent’s recommendation before next month’s board meeting, they will not close.

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