- Associated Press - Friday, March 7, 2014

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - East Baton Rouge Parish Superintendent Bernard Taylor told the school board he hopes to solicit proposals to create new schools in order to head off growing competition from charter schools.

“If we don’t do something different, we’re either going to be out-competed, or we will financially fall apart,” Taylor said.

Taylor said he’s concerned that charters schools are eating up an increasing share of his funding, potentially at the expense of day-to-day operations, and he needs to develop a viable, affordable alternative.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/P83VKc ) the alternative, which Taylor presented Thursday, is something he’s calling “Innovative Schools.” He said, unlike most charter schools, he wants school ideas that are not just “more of the same.”

Taylor did not ask for a vote Thursday. He said he’s still developing the initiative.

He said he would have to return to the board to approve potential management contracts with applicants judged worthy.

“I wish we could have done this years ago, before this monster called the RSD was ever created,” said board member Tarvald Smith, referring to the state-run Recovery School District.

Board member Kenyetta Nelson-Smith was more cool to the initiative. She questioned the need for it, given all the other changes going on in public schools .

“I would like to see something succeed before we move, move, move and we change, change, change,” Nelson-Smith said.

Innovative Schools would function much like charter schools. Like charter schools, they would be public schools run by private organizations. They would have autonomy over instruction and picking their teams.

Unlike charter schools, they would be obliged to pay for school system services such as food and buses, as well as contribute to the teacher retirement system. And rather than starting small with new students, these educators would move into existing schools and work with students already there.


Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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