Mar 042016

The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education sent a controversial decision on how to fund individual schools in New Orleans back to the Orleans Parish School Board on Thursday, in a move that appears to at least partially satisfy some schools’ request for more time to consider the impact of a new formula.

The widespread expectation prior to Thursday’s BESE meeting was that the state board planned to decide on a new formula that increases the amount of money provided for special education while reducing the amount allocated for gifted students in Orleans Parish.

Instead, according to multiple media outlets, state Superintendent John White told the surprised board and audience that BESE’s role was only to approve the categories of per-pupil funding, and that Orleans Parish must decide on the formula itself.

Schools like Lusher had threatened to sue over the decision, saying that the state Constitution prohibits different parishes from receiving per-pupil funding differently. Supporters of the new formula had countered that that the same amount of per-pupil funding is being sent from the state to Orleans Parish, but that Orleans parish will allocate it differently among its schools — and White’s surprise call on Thursday may underscore that point.

Meanwhile, Audubon Charter and other schools had simply asked for a delay on the decision since the new formula was only announced late last month, which sending it to Orleans Parish effectively accomplishes as well, at least for a week or two.

Read more coverage of Thursday’s meeting:

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