OPSB June Newsletter
June 5, 2019
A Victory for New Orleans Public Schools with More Funding to Classrooms
After the Governor signs off, more funding — approximately $10 million — will head to classrooms in New Orleans to empower students and schools to succeed. I am proud that the Orleans Parish School Board was able to work closely with our elected officials in Baton Rouge to help make this a reality through the recent passage of Louisiana House Bill (HB) 393 by the House and Senate.
I would like to especially thank the legislators who handled the bill through this process especially State Representative Walt Leger, III, State Senators Troy Carter and JP Morrell along with other elected officials for their support and strong commitment to public education in Orleans Parish. I would also like to take this moment to thank our partners and schools for their support of the District.
Our school system joins hundreds of others across the state and country, forced to address school funding challenges. HB 393 is a common-sense solution to balancing our funding in line with our priorities.
Correcting a funding trend that has resulted in double-digit increases in per pupil funding for facilities and less than a one percent increase in per pupil classroom funding, HB 393 will allow OPSB to better prioritize approximately $10 million in existing local sales tax dollars for schools, students, and programs. It will also allocate a portion of those dollars to a Systemwide Needs Fund to address citywide needs. HB 393 does this all without raising taxes, and it ensures that 100 percent of the school facilities property tax approved by voters in 2014 continues to go to facilities preservation.
To make sure that HB 393 has a positive impact, the district must do important work on our end. This is why, pending Governor John Bel Edwards’ signature, I will use the provisions in this legislation to implement a plan to support our students, families, and schools by:
- Providing an additional $100 per pupil to all schools.
- Allocating $2.0-2.5 million annually to support special programming.
- Managing the new Systemwide Needs Fund with a transparent process, including collaboration with schools and approval by the School Board.
- Maintaining facility preservation funding at the level expected since 2014 – about $35 million per year beginning in 2021-2022 – while equitably supporting our facilities with the greatest needs.
HB 393 focuses funds toward better advancing the vision and goals of our District to provide a high-quality education for every student. This is a significant milestone for our school system and reflects what we as a District are doing to make improvements as part of our unified vision for our schools.
However, the battle for a stronger public school system doesn’t end with this victory. We must continue to roll up our sleeves and lead by example, working for the betterment of our children and ultimately, the overall success of our city.
– Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools for Orleans Parish