Nov 19, 2013 6:13 PM by Alex Labat

Charter Schools in Lafayette (Part Two): Where Will They Go?

Yesterday we told you about charter schools already operating in our area. Today, we get more specific...what can Lafayette Parish residents expect? Bringing you up to speed, two charter companies are coming in after originally being denied by the school board. However, they appealed and won approval from the BESE board. They two companies now plan to bring in five new schools by 2017.

Both Charter Schools U.S.A. and National Heritage Academies plan to spread out their schools, hitting both the north and south sides of the parish. They say their time tables have been pushed up because of the need. First up is Charter Schools U.S.A., building three schools in Lafayette Parish. In northern Lafayette Parish lies Couret Farms, a 125-acre development off Pont de Mouton, that will be the future location of a charter school. It will be a K-8th grade well as a school they're planning in Sugar Mill Pond in Youngville. Each of these schools will take in about 1,200 students. Also in the works is a high school, but they still haven't determined where it will go.

"Members of the board have expertise in areas, but Charter Schools U.S.A. has expertise in building schools from the ground up and adding a choice to the family", says Dr. Louella Riggs-Cook, President of the Lafayette Charter Foundation. The foundation asked Charter Schools U.S.A. to help manage the projects. They were awarded Type 2 charters, which means they'll eventually answer to BESE instead of the Lafayette Parish School Board. "The teachers will be able to go into the classroom and actually teach the children without having to deal with all the negativity or the vices that's on the outside that will distract them from educating the child", says Cook.

We reached out to Jay Miller, board member for the Louisiana Achievement Charter Academies, who partnered with the National Heritage Academies. He refused to be interviewed on camera about the future of those schools in Lafayette Parish, only saying the cost and location of the schools are "to be determined".

A reminder about these Type 2 charter schools, they are free to the public, and they also don't have zones. As of now, they won't have buses but they aren't ruling out that possibility. As for enrollment, an application process will be used. If there are fewer applications than seats, everyone will be enrolled. And, if they receive more applications than seats in a certain grade, a lottery will be held for that grade.

Information on Charter Schools U.S.A. can be found here, and National Heritage Academies here.



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