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Katie Moore / Eyewitness News
Email: kmoore@wwltv.com | Twitter: @katiecmoore

NEW ORLEANS -- A number of once-failing Orleans Parish schools that the state took over after Hurricane Katrina are now eligible to return to local control.

Many of them are now charter schools with independent governing boards.

In Ms. Francis' fifth grade class at Akili Academy, classroom games helped to point the school in a new direction.

Akili is one of 50 charter schools currently run by the Recovery School District. New school grades released Monday show Akili getting a 'C' grade for a second year.

That means they're no longer failing, and could now return to the control of the Orleans Parish School Board.

'We have opened up talks with those charters. I think it's about 13 who are eligible to return,' said Ira Thomas of the Orleans Parish School Board.

The state took over the failing schools after Hurricane Katrina.

Only 16 of them are still directly run by the Recovery School District, something the RSD has said openly they want to change.

Recently passed rules allow the charter schools to decide whether they want to return. Their individual governing boards are supposed to decide on whether to stay under the state or Orleans Parish by Dec. 1, including Akili.

'Right now, we are under the Recovery School District, or the Orleans Parish School Board or whatever governance model somebody comes up with, it must preserve the things that made us successful,' said Kate Mahok, Crescent City Schools CEO.

The charter schools are concerned about what a possible change in control could mean for their futures. In fact, they've signed onto this list of governing principles regulating what they would require to go back to Orleans Parish control.

Those principles all relate to autonomy and choice in hiring and firing, budgeting and continued choice for parents about where to send their kids.

The RSD and the Orleans Parish School Board are expected to announce Wednesday which of the schools are eligible to return.

They've asked for an extension from the state board of education on the deadline.

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