Louisiana Legislature Advances Public School Choice Bill

The Louisiana legislature advanced legislation which will expand school choice options for Louisiana families.

The House of Representatives passed HB211 by Representative Mark Wright with bipartisan support.  HB 211 expands school choice for families whose students are enrolled in “D” or “F” public schools by allowing them to select an “A”, “B”, or “C” rated school within the district as long as there is capacity for the student.

“HB211 will allow parents of students who attended a public school that received a school performance letter grade of “D” or “F” for the most recent school year to enroll in a school of their choice as long as there is capacity for the student.  This bill will give additional school choice options to families that may not have the ability to move to a higher performing school within the district.  It’s a great bill for students and families,” said Kelli Bottger, American Federation for Children’s Regional Government Affairs Director.

HB211 Details:

  • Creates a parental appeals process to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) for parents of students who are denied enrollment into their public school of choice. The appeals process will allow BESE to ensure local districts are following their capacity policies without arbitrarily denying students school choice.
  • Requires such policy to include an annual transfer request period for parents to select schools of choice for the following school year. Requires public school governing authorities to notify parents and legal guardians of the policy and available “A”, “B”, and “C” school choice options within the district; and where to find school performance letter grades on the department’s website.
  • Requires BESE to pursue funds to provide financial incentives and student supports to schools enrolling students pursuant to present law and proposed law. If a student chooses a school under a different governing authority, he shall not be included in the school’s performance ratings for his first two years of attendance.
  • Requires BESE to submit a report on or before Oct. 31 annually to the legislative committees on education which includes data relative to student transfers during the most recent school year.