By Preston Castille
Partner, Taylor Porter
Charter Schools Practice Group Leader
Click here to view the Louisiana Supreme Court ruling
In a 5-2 decision last week, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that Louisiana’s Type 2 charter schools, consisting of approximately 16,000 students, can continue to receive financing through the state’s public school funding formula, the Minimum Foundation Program (MFP).
The ruling overturned a 3-2 decision in January 2017 by the 1st Circuit Court of Appeal in Iberville Parish School Board v. Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and the State of Louisiana Through the State Department of Education. The court battle lasted over three years.
Currently, Louisiana is home to 42 Type 2 charters schools. Type 2 charters - charter schools approved by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education - are unlike the more than 100 other charter schools operating in Louisiana that get their charters from local school boards.
Charter schools are independently-operated public schools that operate under a contract with a charter school authorizer, typically a nonprofit, government agency, or university that holds them accountable to standards outlined in their charter. Louisiana’s Charter School Law was enacted in 1995 (Act 192), and since the law went into effect, 146 schools have been classified as charter schools with 84,400 students attending those schools.
On the national level, more than 3 million students attend, and more than 129,000 teachers are employed at 6,900 charter schools. There are 44 states, including the District of Columbia, that have enacted a charter school law, and there is a total of $333 million in federal funding that has been dedicated to those schools, according to the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Although charter schools are exempt from many of the requirements imposed by state and local boards of education, charter schools must comply with state laws governing public entities, including the Code of Ethics, Open Meetings Law, Local Government Budget Act, Public Records Act, and Public Bid Law, among others. Charter schools must also comply with policies set by their authorizer.
Due to the developing, challenging and complex intricacies of charter school law, Taylor Porter attorneys represent and advise charter schools, charter school boards, and charter school advocacy organizations, regarding board governance, ethics, and open-meetings, and work with charter school administrators to review and negotiate contracts and operating agreements with businesses, vendors and state and local education agencies.
Taylor Porter’s additional charter school knowledge, representation and experience include:
In addition to practicing charter school law and representing our charter school clients, Taylor Porter attorneys serve on boards for public charter schools and charter school advocacy organizations. Taylor Porter Partner Preston Castille, who serves as the National President of the Southern University Alumni Federation, volunteers as Chairman of the Board of Directors of New Schools for Baton Rouge, and he is a member of the Mentorship Academy School Board. Taylor Porter Partner and Diversity Committee Chair Katia Bowman is a board member of IDEA Public Schools Louisiana, Inc., and Taylor Porter Associate Ne’Shira Millender is a board member of Volunteers in Public Schools.
About Preston Castille: Preston J. Castille, Jr., is a partner and a member of the Taylor Porter Executive Committee. For close to 25 years, he has practiced in business litigation (federal and state), education law, energy, insurance, construction, and governmental relations. He has been ranked for several years in Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Administrative Law and Insurance Law. Castille is the firm’s representative in MSI Global Alliance, a network of more than 250 accounting and law firms in 100 countries. He is a member of the MSI Global Alliance Management Board and an Area Representative for the continent of North America. Castille is an adjunct professor of law at Southern University Law School, and serves as the National President of the Southern University Alumni Federation. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of New Schools for Baton Rouge and is a member of the Mentorship Academy School Board.
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