New Orleans was scheduled this week to reopen its first public school since Hurricane Katrina struck the city on Aug. 29.
Benjamin Franklin Elementary School was to resume classes on Nov. 28. Enrollment was opened the previous week to as many as 500 students from across the city in preschool through 6th grade. The school’s academic year will end on June 22.
The New Orleans school board decided at its Nov. 18 meeting to open Franklin Elementary this week and Eleanor McMain High School on Jan. 9. McMain will serve as many as 500 students in grades 7-12. Its academic year will extend to July 26.
More than 4,000 students have so far expressed an intent to return to New Orleans, whose public schools enrolled some 56,000 students before the hurricane. The vast majority of schools are unlikely to open this school year. Louisiana lawmakers were finishing work last week on a state plan for the city’s schools. (“Louisiana Heads for New Orleans Takeover”, this issue.)