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Lafayette School Board Members Take No Action On Charter School Applications

Lafayette Parish School System

LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) — After nearly two hours of discussion, Lafayette Parish School Board members took no action on applications that would have allowed at least four charter schools to be built in the parish through 2017.

Officials from Charter Schools USA and National Heritage Academy were on hand to make their pitch to board members and answer their questions.

Several questions arose about where the schools would be built, how much they would cost the school system to construct, how students would be transported to the schools, and how the school system would overcome the loss of MFP dollars that would follow students into the charter school systems, among other things.

Charter Schools USA intends to spend $10 million to $15 million to build three schools–one each in the northern and southern sections of Lafayette Parish and a third in a yet to be determined location–at no cost to Lafayette taxpayers, according to Jay Augustine, a representative of the charter school system.

Under their proposal, Charter Schools USA plans to open a K-8 facility in north Lafayette in 2014, a K-8 facility in south Lafayette in 2015, and a high school somewhere in the parish by 2017.

Each school would be “state-of-the-art,” according to Augustine, offering high-tech instruction. Students would use iPads as part of their learning, Augustine said.

Augustine touted the charter school system’s academic record, saying all Charter School USA schools were excellent academic performers and none were considered academically unacceptable.

The two charter school systems are applying for type 1 charter school status, which would allow the Lafayette Parish School System some, though not complete, control of the schools. If the school board denies their application, Augustine said the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education could conceivably accept their application as a type 2 charter school, allowing them to build schools in the parish without school system approval or supervision.

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