Oct 14, 2013 11:34 AM

Group questions Lafayette charter application

A Lafayette Parish parent organization fighting two pending charter school applications is questioning why one charter school failed to disclose management problems raised in audits of two schools it operates in New York. The New York State Comptroller Office's audits of Buffalo United School and Brooklyn Excelsior Charter School reveal a lease payment of $800,000 over fair market value at one school and call for better oversight of public funds. Ann Burruss, a Lafayette Parish parent, tells The Advocate the issues should have been disclosed by National Heritage Academies in its charter school application to the Louisiana Department of Education.

Burruss is a founding member of Swamp BESE, a group rallying parents to oppose the charter school applications at upcoming Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meetings. "Clearly, such facts, if disclosed as required in the application process, would affect the judgment of state and local school board members. We seek better applicant review. We want an open, predictable, transparent process so the public has confidence in the integrity of its government," Burruss said in a news release.

The Louisiana Department of Education's request for applications requires charter school operators to provide certain information related to past school performance, including any litigation or material audit findings related to any of its schools. On Tuesday, a BESE committee will consider an application from Louisiana Achievement Charter Academies made in partnership with NHA to open two schools in Lafayette Parish.

The full BESE board will make a final decision on the applications Wednesday.



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