OPSB suit to shed 'in crisis' label on hold pending appeal

Alejandro de los Rios Dec. 9, 2010, 12:27pm


A lawsuit by the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) seeking to rid the district's "in crisis" label in Orleans Parish Civil District Court is on hold until a defense appeal makes its way through the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

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.

On Wednesday, Orleans Parish Judge Kern Reese ruled that New Orleans serves as proper jurisdiction and venue for this case. The state is arguing that the case should be tried in Baton Rouge and has appealed Reese's ruling.

The OPSB was given 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 approver 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.

On Thursday, BESE announced that it has approved a plan by Pastorek to begin moving schools that meet certain academic standards back under the supervision of the OPSB. The plan allows school to choose whether to stay under RSD jurisdiction or move back to the OPSB, but the plan also allows for the establishment of a new school district in place of the OPSB.

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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