Earlier this month, the Orleans Parish School Board adopted a new charter-school policy that effectively does away with any geographical admissions preferences for selective admissions schools, like Lusher, though publicly-released details were initially scarce as to how those changes would be implemented for individual schools. On Saturday morning, in its first meeting since that change, Lusher’s governing board did not discuss the topic, but information released by the school to parents shows how the changes are expected unfold.
In short, the neighborhood admissions will remain in place for families applying for the 2016-17 school year (and siblings of current students “with a qualifying score” will also be given preference). “A certain number of dedicated spots in kindergarten” will still be reserved for Tulane families (this was half of open non-sibling, non-neighborhood seats in years past), both in the 2016-17 year and beyond.
To read the information released by the school, see below:
For the 2016-2017 school year:
- The admissions process for the 2016-2017 school year will not change. Kindergarten students who live in the attendance district (neighborhood) will be admitted with an In-district Application. The current acceptance policy remains in place. Residents of Orleans Parish in grades K-5 may submit a Community Application to Lusher, and acceptance will be based upon matrix scores, the lottery, and availability of spots. Siblings with a qualifying score will continue to have a preference for kindergarten.
- Current students who enter as in-district students (neighborhood) and move out of the district must go through the Community Process to keep a spot. In-district students are strongly encouraged to also go through the Community Process in the unforeseen circumstance of the family having to move out of the neighborhood.
- Tulane families will continue to submit Community Applications and will have a certain number of dedicated spots in kindergarten. Spots in grades 1-5 will depend upon openings at the grade level.
Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year:
- There will no longer be a geographic district for Lusher, and all applicants will go through the Community process. This means that no student will enter as a neighborhood student.
- Siblings with a qualifying score will continue to have a preference for kindergarten.
- Tulane students will continue to submit Community Applications and will have a certain number of dedicated spots in kindergarten. Spots in grades 1-5 will depend upon openings at the grade level.
- Current students who entered as in-district students (neighborhood) and move out of the district must go through the Community Process to keep a spot.
After the meeting, CEO Kathy Riedlinger said she did not expect the board to revisit the new admissions policy. Board chair Blaine LeCesne said that the Lusher board has held discussions in the past about whether to continue the neighborhood admissions, but that the new OPSB rules effectively ended the conversation.
“The issue was taken away from us by the new policy,” LeCesne said. “Beyond that, I have no position on whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.”
Lusher’s representatives did not speak in opposition when the OPSB approved the new charter policy. Two members of the public (other than the Uptown Messenger reporter) were in the audience at Saturday morning’s meeting, but the board did not offer a public-comment period required by state law during the meeting, so the visitors at the meeting left without addressing the board.
In other school news:
- Riedlinger expressed concern about a potential change to the state’s per-pupil funding formula that could dramatically reduce Lusher’s funding, by removing funding bonuses for gifted or at-risk students.
- The Lusher board is planning a retreat this fall to create a new structure of standing committees that will focus on specific school issues, such as finance or other issues.
- The board spent about an hour and a half in an executive session to discuss “CEO performance evaluation for prospective contract renewal.” Riedlinger spent about half of the session in with the board.
To read our live coverage of the meeting, see below: