The Return Model: A New Approach to Governance for Public Schools in New Orleans
Leslie Jacobs
Educate Now!
June 2011


Educate Now! convened a Task Force of educators, community, civic and business leaders to discuss the future governance of New Orleans Schools. This report outlines the Task Force’s recommendations.

The proposed model for governing New Orleans pubic schools would return the schools to local control while working to meet the needs of New Orleans’ unique system of schools. Instead of vesting all power in a single board operating through a central office, these powers and responsibilities would be allocated among three inter-dependent boards:

  • An elected Governing Board with overarching responsibility for the school system as a whole; it would serve as steward of the system of schools, including managing the system’s finances and school facilities, developing standards and policies for matters with system-wide implications, and providing the coordination necessary to serve the needs of all students and the public.  This Governing Board would not directly run schools, nor could it interfere in the operation of schools.
  • An appointed Direct-run Oversight Board to operate and manage all non-charter schools.
  • An appointed Charter Oversight Board to authorize and monitor the performance of charter schools.

The return model is designed to protect school autonomy, require individual schools to excel, and provide the coordination and fairness necessary to serve the needs of all students and the public.

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