St. Landry

Apr 5, 2011 11:13 PM by Maddie Garrett

Charter School Stands a Chance in St. Landry Parish

A new charter school is on the table in St. Landry Parish, but does it stand a chance with school board members? Directors presented them with a plan at Tuesday's meeting.

This wasn't the first time St. Landry Parish School Board Member Charles Ross had heard a charter school proposal.

"We've had several charters to come before the board and they didn't make the kind of professional presentation that this group made," said Ross, who has served on the school board for nearly 25 years.

Plans for the J.S. Clark Leadership Academy Charter School include starting a charter school in Opelousas, beginning with middle school students and adding a grade every year through 12th grade. Each grade would have 90 students.

"It's a challenge to the charter people and it's a challenge for us as school board members, because they are targeting the same children that are in public schools," said Ross.

Deciding to approve the charter school or not is also a challenge. So an independent committee was formed that will review the plans and make a recommendation to Superintendent Michael Nassif.

"The superintendent comes back to us at the meeting and then we're going to decide what to do it's going to be an open meeting, open forum, anybody can participate in it," said St. Landry Parish School Board President Huey Wyble.

Though charter schools have been shot down in the past, this plan might have a chance.

"Well I can't answer for the board but I can tell you I'm open minded, I'm open to listen and to be involved," said Ross.

Wyble said a charter school would be competition for public schools, but that may not be a bad thing for either entity.

"Anything to do that we can better educate our children for St. Landry Parish, I would really look into," said Wyble.

The school board will vote on whether to approve the J.S. Clark Leadership Academy Charter School in May.



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