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Three New Orleans charter schools could shut down next year | Education

The fate of three New Orleans charter schools are set to be decided Monday evening after they were recommended for non-renewal by Superintendent Avis Williams. 

If the Orleans Parish School Board agrees with Williams’ recommendation, the schools will close at the end of the 2023-24 school year, joining a list of at least eight closures and mergers in since 2019 because of declining enrollment and low academic performance scores. 

The board is set to vote Monday night on whether to renew charter contracts with the Living School, a nonprofit high school, and Robert Russa Moton Elementary — both in New Orleans East. An extension for Lafayette Academy Charter School, an elementary and middle school with separate campuses in the Carrollton area, also was also recommended for denial.

Lafayette Academy is in the fourth year of its initial five-year contract, and had a comprehensive evaluation for a charter extension along with four other schools. 

All three schools recommended for non-extension or renewal received an F rating, according to performance data released by the state Department of Education last month.

“I recognize the incredibly hard work that students, parents, and teachers have put into this school community and that this news is difficult to receive,” Williams said in a letter sent to families last week.

Williams acknowledged the “lingering impact” of COVID-19 on school communities and said the evaluation process looked at schools under those circumstances.

Before the pandemic, schools were evaluated by annual state performance scores, but other factors were considered in 2020 when scores were waived by the state Department of Education.

Current NOLA Public Schools policy looks at enrollment, parent surveys and growth in addition to academic performance. Schools that receive an F for three consecutive years or in their renewal year are not recommended to continue by the superintendent.

The school board will vote on the recommendations during a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. at 2401 Westbend Parkway. 

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