Lafayette

Sep 3, 2013 4:21 PM by Dwayne Fatherree

LPSS board seeking answers on charter review agreement with state

Members of the Lafayette Parish School Board are asking questions about an agreement signed earlier this year that would make it easier for state-approved charter schools to locate in Lafayette Parish.

According to a press release from the Louisiana Department of Education, the agreement would allow charter school operators to apply at the state level for permit review, but with final approval still reserved at the district level.

However, Lafayette Parish board members have not yet seen any of the agreement's details.

"There is a concern that a school could apply to us as a Type 1 charter, be denied, and go to the state to get approval as a Type 2 charter school," said board member Hunter Beasley. "It would allow them a way to possibly circumvent the board's wishes."

Another point of contention, according to board member Greg Awbrey, is that Superintendent Pat Cooper entered into an agreement earlier this year without the LPSS board's knowledge.

"We just want to determine how this agreement came into being, and what the district's obligations are," Awbrey said Tuesday. He asked the administration to add a discussion of the agreement to Wednesday's LPSS board meeting agenda.

LPSS Board President Shelton Cobb also said he had no recollection of the agreement being brought before the board.

The agreement, between the state Department of Education and the Lafayette, East Baton Rouge and Jefferson parish school districts, would allow Type II charter schools to apply directly to the state for charter review. The goal of the agreement is to streamline the charter process, doing one review at the state level applicable to any parish school district.

There are currently no charter schools in Lafayette Parish. That may change, however, if any of the five proposed charter school applications currently under LPSS consideration are approved.

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