“Almost seven years into a historic drive to rebuild schools in New Orleans, education officials have begun putting teeth into efforts aimed at hiring more disadvantaged businesses to do the work, hoping to bring in more small local contractors owned by women and minorities. With more than $1 billion in contracts left to bid out, the state-run Recovery School District said Monday that it will put a new disadvantaged business enterprise, or DBE, program in place, requiring contractors to make a good-faith effort to ensure as much as 25 percent of all construction work is handled by disadvantaged companies.
Though it is still working out the specifics, the Orleans Parish School Board, which has joint oversight with the Recovery School District over the master plan for school construction, is getting ready to vote on a more ambitious goal of 35 percent, in line with City Hall’s target for contract spending. The board had a long-standing DBE program, but it fell by the wayside in the wholesale reorganization that followed Hurricane Katrina.”
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