Gifford Briggs representing Charter Schools USA visited 'Mornings With Ken and Bernie' today and discussed the possibility of up to four new charter schools opening in Lafayette Parish.

At present there are no charter schools in Lafayette Parish and when asked if four schools were being planned Briggs replied,

Charter Schools USA, the group that I'm working with through the Lafayette Charter Foundation hopes to open three schools over the course of the next four years.  National Heritage Academy is I believe proposing one school at this time.

People are familiar with public and parochial schools but most people don't understand what a charter school is.  When asked to explain charter schools Briggs said,

A charter school is a public school and that's the most important thing for everyone to understand.  There is no cost to attend a charter school.  The parents would be able to apply or submit their children to attend a charter school from anywhere in Lafayette Parish.  If we have more applications than we have spots we go to a lottery system...A computer would select the children and they would begin attending the school at no cost.

We asked Briggs how the cost of the schools would be covered and he said,

The same dollars that would go to the public schools through MFP (Minimum Foundation Program) go to the charter school to educate the children.  Because of some of the different burdens that traditional Lafayette Parish schools have we're able to build a brand new facility for each one of the three schools.  Technology in the classroom with iPads and laptops and all the things you've come to expect in a parochial school but it's still a public school that anyone can attend.

Briggs went on to say that charter schools will give parents who want a different environment for their children but have limited resources will have options for educating their children.

To learn more about charter schools you can visit Lafayette Charter and you can listen to the interview: