Ruling in charter school lawsuit expected Wednesday

Alejandro de los Rios Dec. 6, 2010, 12:22pm


Orleans Parish Civil District Court Judge Kern Reese announced he will issue a ruling on Wednesday on an injunction filed by the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) to stop the certification of nine charter school applications.

The OPSB is suing the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE), the Louisiana State board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE), Louisiana Virtual Education Partners, Louisiana School Superintendent Paul Pastorek and Director of Charter Schools Erin Bendily in an effort to remove the OPSB's "academically in crisis" label and allow it to review charter school applications.

The OPSB was given its in crisis distinction by former superintendent Cecil Picard in 2004. After hurricane Katrina, all but 16 high-performing OPSB schools were transferred to the state-run Recovery School District (RSD). School districts that are labeled in crisis are also stripped of their authority to approve charter school applications.

New Orleans attorneys Brent Barriere and Harry Rosenberg are representing the OPSB. Baton Rouge attorney Robert Fruge and Metairie attorney Daniel Abel are representing the state entities.

The lawsuit is effectively asking Reese to remove the in crisis label from the OPSB and give it back its authority to certify charter schools. Officials with the OPSB said that shifting applications from BESE to the OPSB would not slow down the certification process.

Since the RSD took over the majority of the OPSB's schools, the OPSB has become the third-best ranked school district in Louisiana.

Orleans Parish Case 2010-11454

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