John Paul the Great Academy, a 5-year-old Catholic school that agreed this week to take in 64 voucher students from public schools, will be booted from its north Lafayette campus by June 30 if it can’t come up with the roughly $1 million needed to keep the school open.
Just days after John Paul the Great Academy excitedly jumped on board with the statewide voucher program and announced plans to take in 64 students from low-performing public schools next school year, the Catholic school is desperately trying to raise almost $1 million to avoid being booted from its campus.
John Paul Academy Headmaster Kevin Roberts says the school, currently housed at the De La Salle Christian Brothers campus on Carmel Drive, had long-planned to purchase the property on which it operates, but the benefactor who had committed to making the purchase backed out a day before the deal was supposed to close on May 16. The Christian Brothers have notified the school that it cannot remain on the property beyond June 30.
It was on May 17 that the school’s board voted to participate in the statewide voucher program, which funnels state dollars to private schools that take in students from low-performing public schools who meet certain income requirements.
“If we don’t succeed on staying on the property, we’ll find another location,” Roberts says. “Enrollment is strong, even without the voucher students. We have a lot of support and a lot of families who want to see this school open.”
KATC, in a Tuesday report on the voucher program, referred to John Paul the Great as one of the highest performing schools in the parish, though private schools are not subject to the accountability system of public schools and are not required to make public any data tied to the achievement of nonvoucher students.
“We are selective, selective on both religious grounds, someone has to be Catholic or Catholic friendly to come to the school, and be able to handle the academic rigor,” Roberts tells KATC in an interview Tuesday. “I look forward to having middle class families, trying to make ends meet, whose children deserve the best education they can get.”
Roberts, who also serves on the advisory board for the national conservative lobbying group Catholic Vote, says he was referencing the typical selections process of the school’s current student body, not the voucher students it plans to take in. The state Department of Education prohibits selective admissions for voucher students.
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
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State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
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