BRAC IN THE NEWS

BRAC Supports Governance Changes to EBR Parish School System

March 7, 2014

BRAC Supports Governance Changes to EBR Parish School System

Organization proposes greater local controlwhile protecting district financial cohesion and stability

Baton Rouge, La. (March 7, 2014) – Today, the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) announced its plans to support a restructuring of education governance within the East Baton Rouge Parish School System (EBRPSS).  After months of research and meetings with community and business leaders, the organization found that there is a strong conviction that now is the time for meaningful changes to the system which will bring improvement to school performance.  BRAC will work to develop legislation that will outline a new governance structure, different from past efforts, and invites involvement from leaders and citizens who want to be part of an effective and equitable solution. 

"BRAC stands with residents who are working to improve their public schools.  To that end, BRAC endorses a change to governance in East Baton Rouge schools that would improve community schools for all kids.  We support a unified EBR public education system, with measures in place to enact local control and empower those who want to see better options for the children in their communities.  The new direction should increase school autonomy through greater empowerment of principals, parents, and neighborhoods in how their schools operate,” said Adam Knapp, president and CEO of BRAC.

"In our research and discussions we found two common themes, the first being a desire for local control of education, and second was a desire to see a solution that created better community schools for children in all parts of Baton Rouge.  We think that it’s possible to find a solution that achieves both of these and that such a solution would have exciting potential for economic development.  BRAC commits to seeking common ground with all those who seek high-performing community schools,” Knapp said.

BRAC is committed to pursuing a solution for community-based schools in East Baton Rouge Parish while also protecting the financial cohesion and stability of the district as a whole.  BRAC welcomes, and is calling for, input from parents, school leaders, and taxpayers toward the best possible solution. Through the organization's research and meetings, it has drafted a set principals to serve as a guide in the formulation of legislation. They are:

1)    Increase local control through greater autonomy and decision-making at the school and community level, with the aim of producing high-performing community schools

2)    Maintain the benefits of a unified EBR districtby improving opportunities for achievement for students in all areas of the district, particularly high-poverty areas, as opposed to past approaches that divided the parish

3)  Empower parents with more school choices in enrollment, access to, and influence on local school decision-making

4)  Protect the unity of the parish school system and maintain financial cohesion of the whole, including providing for legacy costs and equitable per-pupil funding

5)  Enable principals with greater authority and leadership resources linked to school accountability and results

6)  Change the roles and responsibilities of the school board to reflect the priority of local control, while also reducingthe size of the school board

7)  Focusingthe superintendent role as CEO of the system who holds principals accountable and implements strategies for producing more high-performing schools

8)  Create community enrollment zones that give preference to neighborhood students while providing access to students between zones based on available capacity, through a common enrollment system that serves all publicly funded school options

9)  Protect access to enrollment in magnet and special-needs options across the entire district

BRAC welcomes the input of the community toward the development of a new and important direction for education.  Those interested in providing their ideas and input are encouraged to contact BRAC via email at communityschools@brac.org.

 

About the Baton Rouge Area Chamber

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) leads economic development in the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area.  Serving as the voice of the business community, BRAC’s investors include more than 1,100 organizations whose employees represent over a third of the region’s workforce.

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