A former longtime Lafayette Parish School System educator and administrator is leading the effort to bring a new charter school to Lafayette Parish.

According to The Advocate, the newly formed Lafayette Charter Foundation, a group overseeing the application for the Lafayette Renaissance Academy charter school, is holding an informational session at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn on Evangeline Thruway. The meeting will give interested residents a chance to learn about the proposed charter school, which if approved by the Lafayette Parish School Board would open as a Type 1 charter school in 2014.

The foundation, led by Mary Louella Riggs-Cook, says the charter school would open as a K-6 school, but the group hopes to expand the school each year to eventually become a K-12 school:
Riggs-Cook said she worked for more than 34 years as a teacher and administrator with the Lafayette Parish School System. Currently, she teaches employment, and financial and computer literacy skills, which is offered in the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office’s jail diversion programs.

She said the foundation plans to hire Charter Schools USA as its managing partner. Charter Schools USA manages 48 schools in five states. In Louisiana, it manages two Type 2 charter schools in Lake Charles: Lake Charles Academy and Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy, according to the foundation website.

Riggs-Cook said the foundation plans to submit its application to open as a Type 1 charter school to the Lafayette Parish School Board. As a Type I charter, schools operate in partnership with the local school board. If the local board denies the application, the group may apply to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to open as a Type 2 charter.
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