School Facilities

The Cowen Institute believes that all children should have the opportunity to go to school in a high quality facility. Many students in New Orleans and across the state attend school in buildings with mold, asbestos, and downright horrific conditions. Part of the problem is that Louisiana ranks fourth lowest among all states in terms of total spending on public school facilities and is one of only nine states that does not provide state funding for school buildings.

In New Orleans, the multi-phase School Facilities Master Plan is in the process of being implemented by the Orleans Parish School Board and the Recovery School District at a cost of approximately $2 billion.  In August 2010, FEMA awarded a $1.8 billion settlement for rebuilding and renovated school facilities across the city.  The Cowen Institute was instrumental in writing the policy that created the Master Plan Oversight Committee to provide expert advice and accountability throughout implementation of the plan.  Additionally, we work to monitor all changes made to the plan, which include substantial budget increases to projects and movement of schools from one phase to another.

On a statewide level, the Cowen Institute works to bring about improved facilities through increased state involvement in facilities planning, funding, and maintenance. We also work with our partners on other school facilities issues, including recently co-hosting a statewide summit on school siting with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to explore how best practices related to school facilities can be implemented in Louisiana.

Cowen Institute Reports, Publications & Presentations

New Orleans Public School Facilities Update
June 2013
This report updates costs, budgets, and anticipated funding for the remainder of the work in the School Facilities Master Plan (SFMP). The purpose is to give the community a current look at the accomplishments and challenges that still face New Orleans in this colossal and crucial public works project.

The State of Public Education in New Orleans: School Facilities
December 2010
This publication presents an overview of the state of school facilities funding, maintenance, and building assignments in New Orleans today.

School Siting Recommendations
July 2010
The Cowen Institute and the Center for Urban and Public Affairs at the University of New Orleans hosted a summit on school siting to help people think more holistically about school siting because many interests can be served at once by good siting decisions.  This summit was part of a grant under the “Helping Johnny Walk to School: Sustaining Communities through Smart School Policy” program.

History of School Facilities Legislation
Updated July 2010
This document is a timeline of school facilities legislation and legislative activity in Louisiana since 2007.

The State of Public Education in New Orleans
These publications are part of a series that the Cowen Institute produces on a regular basis about the state of public education in New Orleans.  The reports include a comprehensive description of the current system, including information specific to school facilities.

From the Blog

The Cowen Institute in the News

Additional Resource

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