Since 2012, Louisiana has allowed for “local charter authorizers” to be approved by the state board for authorizing authority. By law a local charter authorizer can be a state agency or nonprofit organization with an educational mission or a public college or university. In the four years these authorizers have been allowed, none have actually become charter school authorizers. Now, New Schools for Baton Rouge, an area non-profit, wants to be an authorizer. And the Louisiana legislature is considering a bill that would eliminate local charter authorizers all together. Louisiana already allows local school districts and the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to authorize charter schools, making it possible for charter schools to be established anywhere in the state. Ten percent of public school students in Louisiana are currently attending charter schools, many of those students in New Orleans, with more than 20 parishes in Louisiana having at least one charter school. Are more charter school authorizers needed to grow charters in other parts of the state? Or does Louisiana already have the authorizing structure in place needed for charter growth?
Are More Authorizers Needed in Louisiana?