Lafayette Parish School Board Members Reject Charter Schools
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) -- Lafayette Parish School Board members voted 2-6-1 Wednesday night against a proposal that would have allowed the building of at least five charter schools within the parish.
In a sometimes contentious meeting that featured public comments from a good number of teachers, residents, and business leaders, school board members rejected the proposal that would have let Charter Schools USA and the American Heritage Foundation build the charter schools within the parish, and board members threatened to fight the state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education should the schools look to BESE for approval
"If we don't feel that we need charters here--and it's not a guarantee that there would be because the application would have to go to BESE if we don't take action or if we deny the type 1 application," Babineaux said, "there's a possibility also that we would be able to defeat the application at the BESE level."
Board members Gregory Awbrey, Hunter Beasley, Rae Trahan, Shelton Cobb, and Tommy Angelle voted against the proposal. Kermit Bouillion and Mark Cockerham voted for. Board member Tehmi Chassion abstained.
Conversation centered around whether school board members were willing to give up their responsibility to continue the successes of the school system, which currently has a B rating.
Trahan argued that the introduction of a single charter school would remove some $8.1 million from the district's budget. Instead, she would like to bond out about $4.4 million originally allocated to capital projects and use that money to build the district's own schools.
"I think it is this board's responsibility," Trahan said, "that we should, in fact, take it upon ourselves to fix our schools, build our schools...and do it ourselves."