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Pastorek Presuming Defies the Law! Again! - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

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Pastorek Presuming Defies the Law!


          "I Was Not Presuming That They Would be Returned to the OPSB” was the headline in the April 10 2011 issue of the New Orleans Tribune.


          Of course Supt. Paul Pastorek was referring to return Recovery School District schools to local control.  His stated preference is that the RSD schools be considered under local control every time "we create a local charter school…”


           Supt. Pastorek is a graduate of Loyola University’s Law School.  The Loyola Journal of Public Interest Law (Vol. 11:  B.  Potential Return of Type 5 Charters to Local District Control has this to say:

          "Thus, a high performing Type 5 charter may be deemed a good candidate for transfer out of the RSD – as the school is no longer in need of "recovery,” the ostensible purpose behind the initial transfer to the RSD. However, this high performing Type 5 school may believe that its success has been driven, in part, by its relationship with its authorizer – BESE – and may believe the local district may not prove an equally high-quality authorizer. As such, the high performing school may not want to return to the local district’s jurisdiction, but under the process set forth in statute, the Type 5 school has no option other than to remain inside the RSD or to return to the local district.”


            Still another authority that appears to differ with Supt. Pastorek’s presumption is the Connecticut Law Review Volume 40, Nov. 2007 Article "The Accountability Cycle:  The Recovery School District Act and New Orleans Charter Schools.”


            The author observes: "…The Recovery School District then retains jurisdiction over the transferred school until the state board enters into an agreement with the local school board for its return to the school board’s jurisdiction. In order to have the school returned to its jurisdiction, the school’s district must present a detailed plan to improve the academic achievement of the school’s students.”


          Couple that with the admonition contained in the charter school law that the legislature does not consider the RSD but an "interim education agency”, and Supt. Pastorek’s presumption and the recent renewal of 12 charters that were in operation sufficiently long to have reached the law’s sunset provisions can be seen as not simply presumptions, but violations of law.


          As we all know such presumptions can be clarified by legal challenges.  However, such events require considerable time.  The Orleans Parish School Board has filed two challenges in State Court but it will be some time before their petitions acquire a decision. 


          The Legislature, in its wisdom, however can act to force a decision by the close of this session. 


Don Whittinghill

LSBA Consultant


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