The Lafayette Parish School Board voted against the Charter School applications. Two board members voted in favor, six voted against, school board member Tehmi Chassion abstained. The Type 1 charter applications were from Charter Schools USA and National Heritage Academies.
“It doesn't help the kids that are suffering the most, because they can't get to that school,” says LPSS Board Member Greg Awbrey.
“At the same time it's still our responsibility as a public school board to basically remedy the issues that plague those existing schools,” adds LPSS Board Member Dr. Tehmi Chassion.
“I would be for it, if it was based on a non-profit structure from beginning to end and from top to bottom,” explains LPSS Board Member Mark Babineaux.
Dr. Louella Riggs Cook is the board president of the Lafayette Charter Foundation. The foundation would have served as the board to oversee Charter Schools USA. “We're also coming in with buildings, more teachers and concentrating on the child,” explains Riggs.
“I don't want the parents in Lafayette Parish to think they don't have a choice where they send their children to school, because of the resources they don't have,” adds board secretary of LCF Gifford Briggs.
At least, one of the charter schools plans to apply to the state. Charter Schools USA says they will apply as a type two charter. A type 2 can decided to operate without the school districts input.
Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper pledges to continue the efforts to provide resources for the children and teachers. “We intend to work closely with the charter organizations if they should gain type 2 status. We have to put our children first and work with whomever may be involved in that process,” says Dr. Cooper.