The newly elected EBR School Board must work across lines of difference to ensure every Baton Rouge student has access to a high-quality school. To do this, board members must work with urgency to hold all schools accountable for serving students well, provide high-quality options to serve the 22,000 students currently enrolled in D and F schools, and make policy decisions that help families more easily access the schools that best fit their children’s needs. At the Alliance, we believe a dramatic improvement is required in how our public schools serve students and families and will require the following actions from the school board over the next four years:

Create guardrails for all public schools that set minimum quality standards and outline targeted action steps for schools that don’t meet them. Great schools should be supported to grow and serve more students, while schools that do not deliver on the promise to serve students and families should receive urgent and targeted interventions.

EBR must continue to grow both the number of high-quality schools and the diversity of program offerings to allow families to choose an excellent school that best fits their child’s needs. The school board must use every tool it has to create and grow higher-performing options for the children enrolled in D and F schools and to become the preferred schools of choice for families across Baton Rouge.

The EBR district must reimagine a facilities footprint that ensures every child goes to school in a clean, safe, and modern building with highly-resourced classrooms. The district is already pursuing a facilities’ use master plan, and the new school board must ensure that it is comprehensive, accounts for all public school models, and prioritizes school quality to drive decision-making.

It is unnecessarily difficult to enroll in our district’s highest-performing schools. The days of complex application processes, multiple enrollment periods, and differing deadlines should end. The district should streamline the enrollment system for all public schools and prioritize widening access to the growing number of high-quality school options. The next board must ensure that its decisions are student-centered and that parent demand for high-quality options is both recognized and acted upon.

The current school board recently set a hard stop of 9 p.m. for its meetings, which have traditionally extended past midnight for a decade. While the new rule is a step in the right direction, true good governance requires fostering parent and voter participation in meetings, supporting the preparation and professional development of board members, and ultimately leads to a board that intentionally and diligently works with staff and the community to drive excellent education outcomes for Baton Rouge’s students.