City’s two public school systems reach landmark agreement

City’s two public school systems reach landmark agreement

From the article:

The two competing school districts that operate side by side in New Orleans reached a landmark deal Thursday aimed at shoring up services for the city’s neediest children and sorting out how to manage the supply of school buildings.

It was a notable agreement in part because the Orleans Parish School Board and the Recovery School District, which took over most of the board’s former schools after Hurricane Katrina, haven’t always managed to find ways to cooperate on citywide initiatives.

The first new step outlined in the agreement would be to shift full responsibility for identifying the youngest students requiring special needs, starting at just 2½ years old.

Another provision of the deal will set aside half of the money that both districts are supposed to get each year from Harrah’s Casino for a variety of services aimed at students with the most difficult challenges. The money would fund an already existing center for combating truancy, a “therapeutic” center for students with severe mental health needs and another office for helping students who have had run-ins with the criminal justice system. The Recovery District would administer those services in the coming school year, but officials will revisit which district is responsible for handling them after that.

Finally, the OPSB agrees to establish a special fund that schools could draw upon to cover extraordinary costs associated with the most severely disabled children, costs that typically aren’t adequately covered by the state’s per-pupil funding scheme.

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