Dryades-YMCA Will Not Move Forward with Plans to Merge with Mahalia Jackson Facility

February 1, 2018

The Dryades-YMCA announced that they will not move forward with their plans to merge operations with the Mahalia Jackson facility in Central City. The Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) expressed support for the decision given the current transitions taking place at the organization.

“Unfortunately, at this time, the Dryades-YMCA will not be able to move forward with the planned expansion to the Mahalia Jackson facility,” said Darren Mire, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Dryades-YMCA. “The board determined that it would be prudent to focus on our current organizational transition.”

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henderson Lewis, Jr. expressed support for the decision. “The OPSB remains committed to early childhood learning in Central City,” Dr. Lewis said. “Moving forward, we will be updating and advising community stakeholders concerning next steps with the facility.”

Irrespective of Dryades-YMCA’s involvement, the OPSB still plans to use the Mahalia Jackson facility as the site for a significantly expanded Child Search program, which assists families with receiving early identification screenings and support services for young children who may have a learning problem, a disability and/or exceptionality. The services are provided free of charge to all Orleans Parish residents.

The OPSB also stressed that Total Community Action (TCA) and the St. Thomas Community Health Clinic will also remain at the Mahalia Jackson facility. Further updates on the Mahalia Jackson facility will be provided at the OPSB’s February board business meeting on Thursday, Feb. 22.

Several board members also voiced support for the decision to end the Dryades-YMCA expansion.

“It is unfortunate that recent developments will not allow us to continue this particular partnership,” said OPSB President John A. Brown, Sr. “Regardless, the OPSB remains committed to improve the Mahalia Jackson facility and to serve its community in a manner that will be beneficial to our students, parents and all other stakeholders.”

“I want to thank the board of the Dryades-YMCA for their straightforward leadership on this matter,” said OPSB Vice President Leslie Ellison, who also thanked the Superintendent for his focus and tirelessefforts on behalf of New Orleans students.

OPSB member Ben Kleban, who represents District 5 where Mahalia Jackson is located, said “I want to reassure school stakeholders that we remain fully committed to finding a sustainable solution for keeping Mahalia Jackson open and in full service to children and families in our community.”

The OPSB currently oversees 41 schools, including 37 charter schools, and one educational program for students in secure care facilities. In July 2018 all public schools in New Orleans will again be under the jurisdiction of the OPSB.

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