After foregoing its chance to have an oversight role by denying the applications last month from two charter operators to open Type 1 charter schools, the Lafayette Parish School Board will still be forking over state Minimum Foundation Program dollars to the two companies following a decision Tuesday by a committee of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Photo by Robin May
The Lafayette Parish School Board denied the opening of two Type 1 charter schools last month, thereby losing any oversight role in how the schools are operated following Tuesday's decision by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approving the companies as Type 2 charters.

The main difference is that because these new schools will be Type 2 charters, the LPSB will have no say in how the schools are operated — that duty now goes to BESE — even though both will be located within the parish and operating on money that once went into the school system’s coffers.

As The IND reported in August (read that story here), the charters would be a reality in Lafayette Parish, whether the LPSB liked it or not. And as that story also noted, both companies — Charter Schools USA and National Heritage Academies — would respond to LPSB’s denial by changing their application status from a Type 1 to a Type 2 operation, thereby leaving the final decision in the hands of the state board, which, as expected, approved both requests during Tuesday morning's committee meeting.

The only votes against the two proposals came from BESE members Carolyn Hill and Lottie Beebe.

Both charter companies say they anticipate having at least one school up and running at the start of the next school year.

Speaking in favor of the charters during this morning's meeting were the mayors from Broussard and Youngsville.

"We have a lack of facilities and we are growing fast," explained Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator. "We have grown 46 percent in the last two and half years. I am fully behind the charter schools wanting to come in come in and make an investment into our community.   Overcrowding is a serious problem and we fully support charter schools helping to alleviate overburdened classroom sizes for our students and our teachers."

Broussard Mayor Charlie Langlinais echoed that sentiment, saying "We are at absolute capacity and in 10 years our population will double.  This isn't the final solution but it is a current solution and with the demand for quality education in Broussard and Youngsville.  I still don't have a plan from the LPSB that addresses our concerns and needs.  If the charter school doesn't provide top performing opportunities, parents won't send their kids there.  I appreciate the BESE Committee's support and both myself and my council look forward to working with the team opening the charter school to start serving citizens as soon as possible."

BESE will render a final decision on Wednesday, though it's unlikely the outcome will change as tomorrow's vote is more or less a formality sealing Tuesday's committee vote.


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