Join Fellow LaTEACH Members!
Put on your Purple  
BESE needs to hear your voice!
February 27, 2014

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) meets next week to consider:
  • Diploma Pathways 
    • Are you concerned your child will drop out or will only receive a Certificate of Achievement because, like most students with disabilities, they have no real pathway to a diploma?
    • Do you think the Department's JumpStart proposal requiring your child to pass 9th and 10th grade standardized tests will give them a real opportunity to graduate?
  • Alternative School Performance Score formula
    • Do you agree that the way to fix the flawed school performance score system is using a different formula for alternative schools that serve certain types of students - including students with disabilities?  
    • Or, are you concerned that having a different formula for alternative schools communicates to schools that segregation of certain students into special campuses is a model of success?
  •  Funding formula - Minimum Foundation Program
    • Did you know the MFP Task Force did not produce recommendations to achieve its intended purpose: to address inequities in how funding is distributed across school structures for students with disabilities?
    • Are you okay that the plan to provide funding for schools serving students with high-cost needs (those costing more than $33,000/year) is following the same model of doubling the amount of funding in the high-risk pool - even though this was done before and schools today are only receiving barely half (53%) of the funds needed to serve students with documented high-cost needs?
    • Does it bother you that doubling the high-cost fund is only expected to fulfill about 80% of the need to serve students with high-cost needs next year?

If these issues are important to you, put on your purple shirt and join fellow LaTEACH members at BESE!  BESE members need to hear from you!


WHEN:          March 6-7, 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 of how critical decisions impact students with disabilities.


If you don't have a purple LaTEACH shirt, contact your LaTEACH Regional Leader and we will provide one for you at the BESE meeting.

BESE Agendas
Below is the March 2014 BESE Committee and Board meeting schedule.  


Thursday, March 6, 2014


9:00 a.m.   Educator Effectiveness Committee   

9:30 a.m.  Academic Goals and Instructional Improvement Committee

1:00 p.m.   Administration and Finance Committee

3:30 p.m.   School Innovation and Turnaround Committee


Friday, March 7, 2014


9:00 a.m.   Full Board    


Click here to see agenda for all March 2014 BESE meetings.


Contact your BESE member to tell them how you feel about these issues.

Click HERE for the list of BESE Members by district.

Additional Information
Three major issues that relate to students with disabilities will be decided by BESE next week.   Below are brief summaries of these issues and how they relate to students with disabilities.

Diploma Pathways  for All Students with Disabilities 

LaTEACH members have been advocating for exit options from school for ALL students.  

Advocates teamed with Special Education Directors to research other states' outcomes and policies.  Read the LaDDC News 2/26/14 A Real Exit Option for All Students.


Louisiana has some of the strictest policies for grade promotion and graduation in the nation.  The long term impact of these policies is denying thousands of citizens the ability and desire to work because they leave school with nothing to show employers that they are employable.  Many leave school earlier than they should because it becomes clear they cannot earn their way into ninth grade, much less a diploma.  The JumpStart initiative by the Department of Education takes a step toward those closest to the student making decisions about the most appropriate program and outcomes for them to succeed in life.  But students who do not pass 9th and 10th grade tests will not have meaningful, attainable exit options.


Alternative School Performance Score Formula

School performance scores are strongly impacted by which students are served in a school.  Schools that serve very few students living in poverty and students with disabilities tend to score very high.  Schools that serve very many students in poverty and students with disabilities tend to score very low.  Advocates have raised concerns about how school performance scores create incentives for schools to not serve students with disabilities.  Read the October 2012 LaDDC News Educational Accountability and Reforms:  Impact of One-Size-Fits-All on Students with Disabilities.

BESE will consider a proposal to only adjust the formula for schools that serve 'non-traditional populations.'  Click here to see the proposed formula for alternative schools.  LaTEACH does not want MORE incentives for school systems to segregate students.  While the Department has recognized that the School Performance formula is in need of revision, the proposed solution is expected to send the wrong message to schools (i.e., segregation of certain students is the model for success).

Funding (Minimum Foundation Program or MFP)

The MFP Task Force is recommending to double the amount of funds in the High-Risk Pool for students with very high-cost disabilities (i.e., cost more than $33,000/year) by adding $4 million from the MFP.


Will increasing the High-Risk Pool ensure that schools serving students with the highest costs receive adequate funding?  Probably not.  This strategy is the same approach being used now - and schools are not receiving adequate funding for students with the highest cost needs.  The amount of funds in the High-Risk Pool doubled from just a few years ago - it went from $1.7 million in 2009 to $3.8 million in 2013.  However, this year the Louisiana Department of Education (LDE) only had sufficient funds to give schools 53% of what they indicated was needed to serve students with high-cost needs.  And, Department staff responsible for this program informed LaTEACH that even doubling the amount of funds again is not expected to be sufficient for the schools that need them.  Since the strategy of increasing the high-cost fund has yet to meet the need, advocates are asking BESE to adopt a strategy that will ensure adequate funding actually follows students with high cost needs.


Also, the MFP Task Force recommended consideration of higher funding levels to schools serving large populations of students with Dyslexia.  While this recommendation was listed as a way to address special education needs, Dyslexia is not a special education classification.


Lastly, The MFP Task Force and BESE did not make any recommendations to address inequities in the MFP formula.  Inequities in the current formula cause concerns of whether adequate funding is following students with more significant disabilities if they choose choice options (charter schools, course choice, etc.) and whether too much funding is allowed to flow out of traditional school systems for each student without a disability that chooses a charter school.  One of the main reasons the MFP Task Force was created was to fix this inequity.  Two years ago the Legislature listened to parents of children with disabilities and urged BESE to study and determine the most equitable funding methodology in the MFP (see SCR 124 of 2012).  Last year one of the reasons the Legislature gave for not passing the MFP was because BESE did not properly study changes to funding for students with disabilities (see news articles:  Louisiana Senate panel rejects school funding formula, will revert to 2011-2012 numbers). 


Some will support the MFP recommendations merely because of the increase in total MFP dollars distributed to schools.  But the funding formula will continue to be inequitable across traditional and choice schools for students with disabilities.  With the changes in school structures and approach for money to follow the student, LaTEACH continues to advocate for an equitable funding formula that ensures adequate funding goes with, or stays with, every student - regardless of the severity of their disability.

Did You Take Action?
action alert
Please let us know if you contacted your BESE Member or attended a BESE meeting by replying to this email or 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.