In The News › Business, nonprofit leaders give latest school construction plan good grades

Oct 12, 2011

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Schools

Business, nonprofit leaders give latest school construction plan good grades

October 12, 2011
By Andrew Vanacore
The Times-Picayune

The same business and nonprofit groups that knocked a previous set of plans for rebuilding New Orleans public schools came out Wednesday in favor of the revisions unveiled last week. That’s an important endorsement of the so-called master plan, the city’s blueprint for spending the rest of almost $2 billion in FEMA recovery money earmarked for school construction, which heads to the local Orleans Parish School Board Thursday.

The board, along with the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or BESE, will have to sign off on the latest revisions, though the first phase of construction is already well underway.

Back in July, the Bureau of Governmental Research, the Business Council, Common Good, the Cowan Institute for Public Education Initiatives, Citizens for 1 Greater New Orleans, and four chambers of commerce criticized city and state officials for a plan that envisioned $420 million in projects without any dedicated source of funding.

The group called it “astonishing” that a $1.8 billion settlement awarded by the federal government last year couldn’t be stretched to put every New Orleans student in a new or renovated building.

In a follow-up letter Wednesday, the same group called revisions outlined by state officials last week “a major step toward improving the master plan and making sure that it serves all students in New Orleans.”

Officials with the state-run Recovery School District, working with their counterparts at OPSB, went back over the summer and found ways to stretch the money by downsizing some large projects and taking advantage of tax credits that will generate extra cash.

The groups that signed Wednesday’s letter said the new revisions met the four demands they had put forward in July: that officials come with a plan that spells out exactly how many schools would be occupied, provides every New Orleans student with “reasonable facilities and a good education environment,” is cost effective and lays the groundwork to fund repair and maintenance costs in the future.

The letter urges the local and state school boards to adopt the revised plan.

“It is crucial that the important changes included in the revised amendments be implemented as quickly as possible so that their benefits can be fully attained,” the letter reads.

Oct 12, 2011

Source: The Times-Picayune

Filed under: Orleans Parish, Schools

Fair Use Notice

This site occasionally reprints copyrighted material, the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of issues and to highlight the accomplishments of our affiliates. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is available without profit. For more information go to: US CODE: Title 17,107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.