The Lusher Charter School governing board endorsed a resolution Thursday morning promising to remain neutral in the upcoming election over a proposed teachers’ union at the school and prohibiting any coercion of the teachers prior to the vote.
Lawrence Crocker and Sylvanie Williams — the two Uptown elementary schools in the New Orleans College Prep charter network — will add tuition-based seats to their preschool programs in the fall, part of a broader long-term strategy to create a completely new early-learning center in New Orleans.
The Lusher Charter School governing board voted 6-5 on Saturday morning against recognizing a petition for collective bargaining by the newly-formed United Teachers of Lusher, likely triggering a schoolwide election on the question in the coming weeks.
The rapidly evolving plan to return all schools in New Orleans to local control by 2018 — effectively ending the 10-year reign of the state’s Recovery School District — was hailed as a vitally important milestone in the rebuilding of the city’s school system, school leaders and education activists said Tuesday night at a forum on the the process of re-unifying the school district hosted by the 100 Black Men of Metro New Orleans.
Their comments were greeted, however, with questions ranging from the skeptical to almost hostile from the audience, underscoring the degree to which many residents remain unconvinced that 10 years of publicly celebrated reforms have made any substantive differences in their neighborhoods.
Charter schools are big business in New Orleans. They basically operate in their own world and are answerable not to the voters but only to their individual boards, each of which is like a mini OPSB.
Charter school organizations can hire whomever they want, pay whatever salaries they want, and purchase supplies and equipment from vendors of their own choosing. As the more successful charter school organizations get the opportunity to start up (or take over) additional schools, their fiefdom grows.
A meeting called by Lusher teachers on Tuesday evening to explain why they see a need to organize a union turned into the first public airing of sharply conflicting views over the issue. Some parents voiced support for the teachers’ right to make the decision themselves, others expressed concern for what the change will mean for the culture of the school, and the conversation dovetailed with national debates about the role of organized labor in public education and the past and future of the New Orleans school system.
By Jana K. Lipman
I am writing to support Lusher teachers, and I want to share my thoughts as a labor historian, a teacher, a former union member, and a parent of two children at Lusher.
Many friends and fellow parents have said they are normally pro-union or progressive, but that teachers, and particularly Lusher teachers, do not need a union. This is for Lusher teachers to decide themselves. Parents can support or not support unionization efforts (clearly, I am also taking a side), but ultimately this is a decision for the teachers to make.
Ursuline Academy students will celebrate the arts at their second annual Ursuline Arts Festival this Wednesday, April 20 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. The student-led festival will offer audiences the opportunity to stroll through the Academy’s 11.5-acre Uptown campus to experience diverse expressions of music, visual arts and performing arts. The festival is free and open to the public.
The vast majority of the crowd of nearly 100 people packed into the Lusher Charter School board meeting on Saturday bore some sort of insignia. Some wore white ‘UTL’ buttons with the logo of the United Teachers of Lusher; others carried handmade signs with slogans like “No Union;” and most on both sides had some variation of the Lusher logo on T-shirts in the school’s signature deep blue.
Many of them — again, on both sides — also had questions, mostly when they will get to air their views on whether and how the school leadership should recognize efforts to form a teachers’ union. The board gave them little in the way of answers on Saturday morning, but promised not to make a decision before hearing from them in the very near future.
Teachers at Lusher Charter School are organizing a union affiliated with local and national groups, they announced today, becoming the third school in the city to do so as the New Orleans educational system rebuilds itself following Hurricane Katrina.
OPSB Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis sent a letter to central office staff this week who were not eliminated in the first round of staff changes last summer advising them that more cuts were on the way but that they could apply for jobs remaining, if they were qualified. Even the current principals were told that their re-employment was not certain. Staff members are bracing for these inevitable changes, which will likely occur during the summer months.
The superintendent of New Orleans public schools will make the final decision on a controversial reallocation of per-pupil tax money, the Orleans Parish School Board decided Tuesday, despite the threat of a costly lawsuit from the attorney representing Lusher Charter School.
Three prominent New Orleans architectural firms with extensive experience in designing school buildings are among the finalists from 18 applicants for the renovation of the former Priestley campus in Carrollton for the Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans charter school — though one finalist may be removed from the list because of its ties to the school, officials said.
Audubon Charter School will host its annual fundraising soirée this Saturday, March 12, from 7 to 10 p.m. The theme for this year’s event is “Back on Broadway” as to commemorate the lower school’s return to its newly renovated campus on Broadway Street. Soirée proceeds directly benefit Audubon’s unique academic programs and the over 800 children that the school serves.
Certified and aspiring teachers will have an exclusive hour of access to potential employers at New Orleans charter schools if they pre-register by today (Monday, March 7) for Saturday’s teacher fair.
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.
By Della Hasselle and Robert Morris
Lusher Charter School’s governing board voted unanimously Saturday to seek a court order against a new school funding formula, on the grounds that the Louisiana constitution specifically prohibits funding schools different from parish to parish.
The Audubon Charter School board also voted Saturday to continue exploring similar legal action, though school administrators will return to the board before making a final decision.
By Lindsay Caton
Special to Uptown Messenger
After beating out The Academy of the Sacred Heart Cardinals girls soccer team, the Vandebilt Catholic girls soccer team are state champions once again.
The 3rd Annual Chili In The Channel cook-off competition & celebration takes place this Saturday February 27, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at ReNEW SciTech Academy in the Irish Channel. Tickets for the event will be sold at the front gate, and proceeds will support programs for ReNEW Schools students.