Join Fellow LaTEACH Members!
Put on your Purple  
BESE needs to hear your voice!
March 12, 2014

The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) will hold a special meeting this Thursday to re-consider the main funding formula for schools (the Minimum Foundation Program or MFP).  This special meeting is being held after many stakeholders who had agreed with the funding formula during the MFP Task Force discovered that the wording did not match what everyone believed was agreed upon.  Specifically, most of the issues resolved around the proposal redefining local school systems to include state run schools and how this disrupted funding levels for some traditional school systems.   


However, the funding formula proposed does not address requests by advocates of students with disabilities - that funding be based on student need and the same formula be used for all schools.


If these issues are important to you, put on your purple shirt and join fellow LaTEACH members at BESE!  If you cannot attend BESE meetings share your concerns with BESE Members.  They need to hear from you! 


Click here to find your BESE member. 

 WHAT:     BESE Special Meeting
 WHEN:     March 13, 2014,   1:00 p.m.
 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 cannot attend the BESE meeting share your concerns with BESE members.
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.
Additional Information about the MFP

Funding (Minimum Foundation Program or MFP)

Advocates for students with disabilities have requested for the MFP to address inequities in funding distributions based on student needs. Unfortunately, the MFP Task Force and BESE did not make any recommendations to address inequities in the MFP formula.  BESE will consider recommendations for a differentiated funding formula for charter schools operated by the Recovery School District in Orleans Parish.  Advocates are perplexed as to why the Department recognizes the need to address these inequities in Orleans but leaves them in place throughout the rest of the state, and why the analysis and model being proposed next week were not mentioned to the MFP Task Force or during discussions at BESE when the inequity issue was raised last week.


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 SCR124 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).     


According to documents for another BESE meeting scheduled for March 19, 2014 at Walter Cohen High School to address the Recovery School District (RSD), the Department is proposing an equitable and fair funding structure based on the needs of students with disabilities - but just for charter schools in Orleans Parish that are operated by RSD.  While this is a great start, continuing to have multiple funding formula across school systems in the same parish, including Orleans, is problematic.  See the Department's proposal here:

What did the MFP Task Force Recommend related to students with disabilities

The MFP Task Force recommended doubling 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.


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:
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Phone: 1-800-450-8108
Phone: 1-800-894-6558

LaTEACH is an initiative of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council.