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.



Patrick Dobard


Recovery School District


Jay Altman


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


New Orleans Science and Math High School


Tracy Bennett-Joseph


Crescent Leadership Academy


Bob Berk

Head of School

Cypress Academy


Latoye Brown

Interim CEO / Principal

Audubon Charter School


Sametta Brown


New Beginnings Schools Foundation


Paulette Bruno


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


New Orleans Military & Maritime Academy


Aisha Jones


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


Orleans Parish School Board


Rene Lewis-Carter

Interim CEO

Algiers Charter School Association


Colleen Mackay


ReNEW Schools


Ben Marcovitz


Collegiate Academies


Jamar McKneely


InspireNOLA Charter Schools


Alexina Medley

Principal & CEO

Warren Easton Charter High School


Kate Mehok


Crescent City Schools


Elizabeth Ostberg


The Net Charter High School


Patricia Perkins


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


Friends of King Schools


Andrew Shahan


ARISE Schools


Terri Smith

CEO & School Leader

ENCORE Academy


Melanie Tennyson

CEO / Head of School / Principal

International School of Louisiana


Shawn Toranto


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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