New Orleans Public Schools Receive $1.3M In Grants To Serve Students With Disabilities

NEW ORLEANS – The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) and the Recovery School District (RSD) announced they have awarded another $1.3 million in Citywide Exceptional Needs Fund (CENF) reimbursement grants to public schools to serve students with significant needs. The funds are part of a joint commitment to help all public schools in New Orleans meet the needs of their students with disabilities.

         This year, CENF awards will go to 18 schools to support the needs of 231 students. Applications for individual students ranged from $14,000 to over $100,000; the average award across the pool of applications is $5,540 per student.

         Approximately 12 percent of students enrolled in New Orleans public schools have special needs, some of whom require intensive and individualized services. These services may include individualized staff support for up to the entire school day, assistive equipment or technology, or specialized transportation supports to ensure safe transport between home and school.

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         “Since its inception, the Citywide Exceptional Needs Fund has helped us ensure additional funds are allocated to schools throughout New Orleans to support the education services for students with special needs,” said OPSB Superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. “CENF has enabled us to supplement costs of services for those students whose needs are not fully met through the state’s High Cost Services Allocation, as well as those students with unique needs whose costs do not meet the state’s threshold for funding eligibility.”

         The establishment of the CENF is one of a number of citywide commitments by the RSD and the OPSB to support students with special needs. CENF works to place specific focus on supplementing traditional funding allocations in order to meet the needs of all students. The 2016-17 CENF distribution follows the previous two distributions of almost $1.3 million each for similar purposes in 2014-15 and 2015-16, respectively.

         "CENF funding offers critical resources toward the full suite of programs necessary to support our students with exceptional needs," said Benjamin Marcovitz, CEO of Collegiate Academies.  "We are grateful for this additional funding. It enables our schools to help students prove what's possible."

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         Additional funds provided by the CENF go directly to providing academic supports for students with the most intensive and most expensive needs.

         “CENF funds help ensure that all Morris Jeff Community School students are being educated in diverse classrooms permitting them to develop their talents fully and become contributing global citizens,” said Patricia M. Perkins, principal of Morris Jeff Community School.

         Other joint special education initiatives of the OPSB and the RSD include the New Orleans Therapeutic Day Program and the citywide differentiated funding formula, which allocates dollars to schools based on five different tiers of special needs.

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         “The CENF represents a broader commitment on the part of education leaders across our city to ensuring that resources are distributed equitably so that all of our students can succeed,” said RSD Superintendent Kunjan Narechania.

         For more information


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