Orleans Parish School Board to Hold Informational Meetings on Closure of Mahalia Jackson Elementary

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From a press release

The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) will hold two informational meetings for families and community members to address the recommendation to close district-run Mahalia Jackson Elementary at the end of the next school year (2017-2018). The meetings will provide families and community members affected by this recommendation of next steps, supports and options for students as well as allow attendees to voice their thoughts and concerns, according to an OPSB press release.

A meeting for families will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m. A second meeting for families and community members will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13. Both meetings will be held at Mahalia Jackson Elementary, 2405 Jackson Ave. The meetings are open to the public.

“This recommendation is not easy, nor is it one we take lightly, said OPSB Superintendent Henderson Lewis in a printed statement. “The impact to students, families and staff is, and always will be, OPSB’s primary consideration.”

The recommendation to close Mahalia Jackson Elementary at the end of the 2017-2018 school year was presented to the School Board on April 20. The board postponed the decision so that the school community, families and staff could receive additional information and provide the School Board with additional input.

According to its website, OPSB currently oversees six direct-run schools and about two dozen charter schools.

The board was recently forced to table a plan to convert all of its remaining direct-run schools into charter schools after the Exceed charter group withdrew its application to take over the district-run schools.

Nonetheless, the OPSB will be overseeing fewer direct-run campuses when the new school year begins. With the transfer of the currently direct-run Eleanor McMain Secondary School to charter school operator InspireNOLA for 2017-2018 already approved and the final phase-out of middle school grades at McDonogh 35 Academy set to be officially complete by this summer, the four direct-run schools that OPSB will oversee in 2017-2018 are Benjamin Franklin Elementary, Mary Bethune Elementary, McDonogh No. 35 College Prep and Mahalia Jackson. If the closure of Mahalia Jackson is approved, the number of direct-run schools will drop to three schools at the start of 2018-2019. And ostensibly, there is still the possibility that those three schools may be up for grabs to charter operators after next school year.

For more information, visit www.opsb.us and OPSB Facebook and Twitter (@_OPSB) pages.

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