Join Fellow LaTEACH Members!
Put on your Purple  
BESE needs to hear your voice!
January 7, 2014

Next week the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will make decisions regarding rules for how students with disabilities should be promoted from grade to grade, hear public input about the main state funding source (Minimum Foundation Program, MFP), change teacher evaluation procedures, review charter school operations, and more.
WHAT:          Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE)


WHEN:          January 14-15, 2014


WHERE:       Claiborne Building

The Louisiana Purchase Room (1-100)

1201 N. Third Street

 Baton Rouge, LA  70802


LaTEACH members are encouraged to attend BESE meetings to inform BESE members how decisions should consider the best interest of ALL kids.


Let us know if you need a purple LaTEACH shirt!  Contact your LaTEACH Regional Leader.

BESE Agendas
Click the links below to see the agenda for each January 2014 BESE Committee and Board meeting.  


Tuesday, January 14, 2014


8:30 a.m.   Minimum Foundation Program (MFP) public hearing


9:00 a.m.   Administration and Finance Committee meeting


11:00 a.m. School Innovation and Turnaround Committee meeting


1:00 p.m.   Educator Effectiveness Committee meeting


2:00 p.m.  Academic Goals and Instructional Improvement Committee meeting


Wednesday, January 15, 2014


9:00 a.m.  BESE Board meeting


If you cannot attend you are encouraged to call BESE Members to tell them how you feel.  Click HERE for the list of BESE Members by district.
Additional Information
Below is information related to some of the major issues being considered by BESE next week.

MFP Public Testimony
The MFP is the main source of education funding in Louisiana - about $3.5 billion of state and local resources.  Different formula are used to distribute funding depending on whether the funds are for a traditional public schools, charter schools, course choice providers and the voucher (or scholarship) program.  These differences in funding formula create financial incentives for schools to not serve students who require more costly services. In 2012, in response to concerns from parents, Senator Claitor filed a resolution (SCR124) requesting BESE to study and determine the most equitable funding methodology to appropriately address the individual needs of children with special needs within the Minimum Foundation Program formula. Unfortunately, the MFP Task Force did not make any recommendations to address the inequity in the formula, despite many parents requesting them to address this issue.  Click here to see the Fact Sheet: Education Funding: Equitable to All Schools and Based on Student Needs
To address the need for serving students with high cost needs, the MFP Task Force voted to increase the amount of funding in the High Risk Pool.  However, High Risk Pool funds are federal funds used to cover statewide initiatives.  Click here to see funding levels for various statewide initiatives covered by this funding stream from 2009-2013.  The amount of funding in the High Cost Pool has grown from $1.5 million in 2009 to $3.8 million in 2013 - with a proposal to increase this to almost $8 million.  Consider that the source of these funds - IDEA Part B funds designated for statewide initiatives - total only about $23 to $24 million in Louisiana.  This level of increased dedication of these funds will result in reductions to other statewide initiatives.  Over the past few years Louisiana has already substantially decreased or completely eliminated funding for statewide initiatives related to assistive technology, behavioral supports, transition to post-secondary (i.e., preparing students to exit school), and addressing personnel shortages.  It is clear that these and other initiatives are not likely to receive adequate funding.  With the increase to the High Cost Pool, what will be cut next?
What are High Risk Pool Funds?  High Risk Pool funds are federal dollars provided to school districts that indicate needed services for a student cost more than three times the average amount of the MFP (funds) per student.  
Even with having doubled the amount of the High Cost Fund last year (see graph) there were still only enough funds to cover about half of the requested need!  So it seems odd that the same strategy is being suggested again when it failed to meet the needs this year. 

With Louisiana's education system creating more small school systems it seems increasingly necessary to revise the funding formula to ensure schools receive the resources needed to serve all students appropriately.

Promotion and Graduation Decisions
BESE will consider a plan for grade promotion decisions of students eligible for the LAA2 test to be determined by the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP).  Advocates have proposed changing policies related to grade promotion and graduation for ALL students with disabilities (not just for students meeting LAA-2 eligibility).  Most students with disabilities in Louisiana do not pass the standardized tests and Louisiana's policy of retention for performance on these tests is not supported by any evidence that it improves student outcomes.


collaborative effort of parents and special education administrators led to a proposal for changing the criteria and process by which Louisiana students with disabilities are promoted from grade to grade and earn a high school diploma.  Other states recognize that decisions by people closest to the student, not just performance on a standardized test, is the best way to determine whether a student should be promoted to the next grade level or graduate with a diploma. Unfortunately for thousands of students in Louisiana these decisions are not made by the people who know them best and know what is best for them.  Instead Louisiana promotion and graduation decisions are determined by performance on standardized tests.  The proposal to Superintendent White seeks to change that for all students with disabilities and give Louisiana students the same access at being promoted and graduating with a diploma as students in other states. 


Click here to see the proposal sent to Superintendent John White. 


Click to view the Fact Sheet:

Accountability Based on Maximizing Student Potential.


Click here to see two graphs showing graduation rates for all students and students with disabilities by state.  

  • Students with disabilities from almost any other state are about twice as likely to graduate with a diploma than are students with disabilities in Louisiana! 
Did You Take Action?
action alert
Please let us know if you contacted your BESE Member or attended a BESE meeting by emailing us at
Any questions?
If there are any questions about the information in this alert, contact LaTEACH at:
contact pic
Phone: 1-800-450-8108
Phone: 1-800-894-6558

LaTEACH is an initiative of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council.