Senate Bill 52

Re-creates the Department of Education.

Filed By: Sen. Conrad AppelE-mail & Rep. Steve CarterE-mail

Abstract:

Proposed law re-creates the Dept. of Education for four more years. Changes termination date from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2019.

Present law (sunset law) provides that the Dept. of Education and all the statutory entities made a part of that department by law shall begin to terminate their operations on July 1, 2016, and that all legislative authority for such entities shall cease as of July 1, 2017, unless the legislature enacts a bill authorizing the re-creation of the department and its statutory entities prior thereto.

Proposed law provides for the general re-creation of the Dept. of Education and its statutory entities, effective June 30, 2015, in accordance with the sunset law. Supersedes the provisions of the sunset law which set out the procedure for review and re-creation and which require a separate bill to re-create each statutory entity within the department along with additional provisions. July 1, 2019, is the new termination date, and termination would begin July 1, 2018, unless the department is again re-created.

Position: Support

This is obviously a no-brainer – we need the Louisiana Department of Education (LDOE). It’s silly that there is even a sunset provision in state law that requires the Legislature to recreate LDOE every couple of years.

See bill text here

House Bill 181

Prohibits the construction of schools on former waste sites

Filed By: Rep. Joseph BouieE-mail

Abstract:

Prohibits the construction of any pre-K through 12th grade school on property formerly used as a waste site.

Proposed law prohibits the governing authority of any public school or school in a special school district from approving, authorizing, or implementing a plan for the construction of a school for grades pre-K-12 on land formerly used in the disposal, storage, or deposition of sewage sludge, solid waste, hazardous waste, or oilfield waste.

Position: Support (with reservations)

This bill is clearly aimed at addressing the controversy over the rebuilding of Booker T. Washington High School in New Orleans, a site that originally served as the location of the Silver City landfill until 1930.

The fight over the rebuilding effort is being led by members of the Cohen Alumni Association, who are upset that the RSD plans to close Cohen High School and transfer the school’s students to the rebuilt B.T. Washington. Although RSD contractors have done extensive remediation to clean up the any lingering toxins at site, Cohen alumni are using the environmental concerns in an effort derail the construction of the new building and subsequent plan to close their alma mater.

Nevertheless, in general, I think it makes sense to prohibit the construction of schools on former waste sites. I’ve never understood the RSD’s insistence on rebuilding at the B.T. Washington site, when a new school could be built at Cohen or another location in the city. It doesn’t seem worth all the fuss that the plan has caused. However, I do believe that the RSD has taken the steps necessary to ensure the grounds of the new school are safe, and therefore would support this bill if it didn’t apply retroactively.

See bill text here

Senate Bill 43

Requires BESE to adopt rules in accordance with the APA prior to implementing certain programs, statements, guidelines, or requirements for conduct.

Filed By: Sen. Conrad AppelE-mail

Abstract:

Proposed law requires BESE to adopt rules in accordance with the Administrative Procedure Act for any program, statement, guideline, or requirement for conduct or action prescribed by the board, the state superintendent of education, and the state Department of Education. Provides that the provisions of proposed law shall not apply to any statement, guideline, or requirement regulating only the internal management of the board or the state Department of Education.

Position: Support

Governor Jindal unsuccessfully attempted to block the administration of the Common Core-aligned PARCC exams by claiming BESE did not follow the stipulations of the Administrative Procedure Act. This bill appears to be Senator Appel’s attempt to avoid a repeat of that frustrating episode.

See bill text here