LPSS hears from charter school applicants

The Lafayette Parish School Board Wednesday heard from the charter management companies looking to open charter schools in the parish.

The board had many questions including the dollar amount that the district would stand to lose by having less students. The estimated figure of $15 million was mentioned. The superintendent explained that the loss could be offset in part by not having to hire so many teachers. Plus, the added classroom space is needed.

Jay Augustine is the Director of Development and Legal Affairs for Charter Schools USA. Charter Schools USA is one of the charter companies that submitted an application to open four schools in Lafayette Parish. One of the schools would open during the 2014-2015 school year. 

“When those great scores come back they will be attributed to the Lafayette Parish School System because we're one of your schools,” says Augustine.

Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper encouraged the board to consider the proposal. He explained that it's a charter type that allows for a working relationship with the local school district. There other types and they're not all open.  

“I would like to go with a Type 1 which they are willing to do; so that we can work closely together. We'll have some continuity in programming and in planning the future of our school district,” adds Dr. Cooper.

Augustine explained that the plan is to open a K thru 8 school in the Northside of the parish, a K thru 8 in the south, then a high school to open in year 2017. 

“Read my lips. No new taxes! That is the huge benefit to Lafayette Parish we're talking three state of the art facilities without a dollar of tax increases from the taxpayers here in the parish,” says Augustine.

The other charter would come from National Heritage Academies. The school would be a K thru 8 grade. Augustine says CSUSA plans to build a school in Carencro, near Couret Farms. Students from anywhere in the parish can attend.

“Ms. Trahan your constituents for example in the Broussard area and Scott; if they wanted to attend the school and they live in Lafayette Parish, they would be eligible for enrollment.”

The charter applications remained as an introductory item. The board did not conduct a final vote of approval. 

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