All Of New Orleans Public Schools Support TOPS

NEW ORLEANS – On Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 100% of New Orleans Public Schools showed support for TOPS in a letter written to LA Gov. John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Legislature and House and Senate Education Committees.

 

 

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         The letter reads:

 

Dear Governor Edwards & State Legislators:

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         As a community of public school educators in New Orleans, we are writing to request your preservation of TOPS funding for low income students. Together, the signatories on this letter represent 100% of the New Orleans public school system – all 82 public schools in Orleans Parish.

         The TOPS program is life-changing for our disadvantaged, college-bound youth, and we implore you to do everything in your power to protect it.

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         The academic gains achieved by New Orleans high schools since Katrina are truly remarkable. The percentage of high school graduates eligible for TOPS 4-year scholarships has increased by 15% over the past five years, nearly matching the state average. College enrollment rates among New Orleans youth are at all-time highs – largely facilitated by the availability of TOPS scholarships.

         With over 80% of our public school students in New Orleans qualifying for free or reduced price lunch, the opportunity for many of our students to attend college is entirely contingent upon their ability to pay for it.

         Raising the TOPS eligibility requirement via the ACT score or GPA will disproportionately restrict college access for the lowest income children in our city, many of whom are also the first in their families to go to college. This is counterproductive to the original intent of the TOPS program, as is prescribing that students may not utilize TOPS at an accredited, not-for-profit university in state.

         Moreover, introducing repayment penalties for students who lose eligibility without providing an exemption for low-income students would be devastating for thousands of students every year, sending these young adults into financial crisis before they've ever had a chance to get a sound footing in life.

         We know there are many variations of legislation being considered for the future of TOPS, and we ask that you ensure the following provisions be included in any bill passed into law:

 

• Leave the eligibility requirements as-is for any student from a low income household

• Provide a full exemption from repayment penalties for any student from a low income household

• Retain the ability for low-income students to use TOPS at non-public universities

 

         Thank you for your consideration of these proposals and we look forward to continuing to work together to create better life opportunities for all Louisianans, especially those who are most vulnerable and disenfranchised.

 

Sincerely,

Patrick Dobard

Superintendent

Recovery School District

 

Jay Altman

CEO

FirstLine Schools

 

Keith Bartlett

Principal & CEO

Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans

 

Kelly Batiste

CEO / Principal

Fannie C. Williams Charter School

 

Chana Benenson & Claire Jecklin

Co-Principals

New Orleans Science and Math High School

 

Tracy Bennett-Joseph

CEO

Crescent Leadership Academy

 

Bob Berk

Head of School

Cypress Academy

 

Latoye Brown

Interim CEO / Principal

Audubon Charter School

 

Sametta Brown

CEO

New Beginnings Schools Foundation

 

Paulette Bruno

Principal

Robert Mussa Moton Charter School

 

Daniel G. Casey

Interim CEO / Principal

Benjamin Franklin High School

 

Sharon Clark

Charter School Director

Sophie B. Wright Charter School

 

Josh Densen

CEO & School Leader

Bricolage Academy of New Orleans

 

Michelle Douglas Principal

Edward Hynes Charter School

 

Mardele Early

Founding CEO

Lake Forest Elementary Charter School

 

Niloy Gangopadhyay

Executive Director

Success Preparatory Academy

 

Dr. Cecilia Garcia

Principal

New Orleans Military & Maritime Academy

 

Aisha Jones

CEO

Mary D. Coghill Charter School

 

Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise CEO

KIPP New Orleans Schools

 

Myrialis King

Founder & Head of School

Foundation Preparatory Charter School

 

Ben Kleban

Founder & President

New Orleans College Prep

 

Mickey Landry

Executive Director

Choice Foundation

 

Dr. Henderson Lewis

Superintendent

Orleans Parish School Board

 

Rene Lewis-Carter

Interim CEO

Algiers Charter School Association

 

Colleen Mackay

CEO

ReNEW Schools

 

Ben Marcovitz

CEO

Collegiate Academies

 

Jamar McKneely

CEO

InspireNOLA Charter Schools

 

Alexina Medley

Principal & CEO

Warren Easton Charter High School

 

Kate Mehok

CEO

Crescent City Schools

 

Elizabeth Ostberg

Principal

The Net Charter High School

 

Patricia Perkins

Principal

Morris Jeff Community School

 

Gregory Phillips

President / CEO

Dryades YMCA

James Singleton Charter School

 

Joan Reilly

Head of School

Homer A. Plessy Community School

 

Kathy Riedlinger CEO

Lusher Charter School

 

Lakeisha Robichaux

Interim CEO

Milestone Academy

 

Dr. Doris Roche'-Hicks

CEO

Friends of King Schools

 

Andrew Shahan

CEO

ARISE Schools

 

Terri Smith

CEO & School Leader

ENCORE Academy

 

Melanie Tennyson

CEO / Head of School / Principal

International School of Louisiana

 

Shawn Toranto

CEO

Einstein Charter Schools

 

Kyle Wedberg

President / CEO NOCCA

 

Eileen Williams

CEO / Principal

Edgar P. Harney Spirit of Excellence Academy

 

Sean Wilson

Head of School

International High School

 

 

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