Education

Mar 8, 2013 1:24 PM by MELISSA CANONE

BESE approves MFP, non-public schools

Louisiana's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) improved its funding formula for public schools and began reviewing the state's nonpublic schools at its March 2013 meeting.

BESE members reviewed and approved the Board's formula for distributing the state's Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) funds among local districts and schools.

BESE is constitutionally mandated to determine the cost of providing each Louisiana student with a "minimum foundation program" of education each year, factoring in student needs and achievement levels across the state. That cost is then split between Louisiana and each district.

Several improvements were made to the 2013-14 formula, including:

· Simplified language to increase clarity.

· Allocations for special education students tied to the needs and educational progress of each student.

· Removal of policy statements on how MFP funds must be used to allow each school and district greater flexibility in meeting the needs of their students.

BESE Secretary-Treasurer Holly Boffy said that she was pleased with the result.

"This formula supports our children's future success by aligning with their needs and accomplishments, making this a more student-centered way to fund schools," she said.

In other action, the Board approved the Louisiana Department of Education's first round of academic classifications of Louisiana's nonpublic schools. In order to operate in Louisiana, all nonpublic schools must either submit proof of accreditation or pass an annual review by the Department of its leadership, instructional practices, curricula, and other factors. A second round of nonpublic schools will presented for approval in April.

"These standards ensure that students at nonpublic schools in Louisiana are attending institutions that meet a standard baseline," BESE Vice President James Garvey said.

"These measures are part of our ongoing work to establish a system centered around students and providing them every opportunity to succeed," said BESE President Chas Roemer. "The future of our state depends on the success of every child in Louisiana, and we intend to do everything we can to support both.

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