The board that governs two charter schools in Lafayette Parish plans to go before the state education board in late April or early May to ask for approval of the first charter high school in the parish.
What’s unknown is whether the D rating of one of those two existing charter schools would pose a problem to getting the high school approved.
Lafayette Charter Foundation, which oversees Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy in north Lafayette and Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy in Youngsville, met Thursday evening for a preliminary discussion about the proposed high school.
Both academies are owned and operated by Charter Schools USA, a national education management company with 77 schools and more than 65,000 students, according to its website.
The charter board has not decided yet on a location or how many students the high school would enroll, but parents and board members said they hope they can find a location that’s central to both schools and that could take students from both ends of the parish.
Board Vice President Carlos Harvin said the site would need to be at least 20 acres and should be accessible to a major highway. He asked for stakeholders to offer suggestions on possible locations for the school.
Lindy Seymour, a parent at Lafayette Renaissance, expressed concern the high school would be built in south Lafayette Parish, making it harder for her child to attend.
“I’d rather bring my child to Charter Schools USA than to the school in my backyard that failed him,” she said.
Lafayette Renaissance has 676 students; Acadiana Renaissance has 778 students. Both schools serve kindergarten through seventh grades and will expand to include eighth grade next school year.
The high school, proposed to open in fall 2017, would pull seventh- and eighth-graders from both existing charter schools and add grades nine through 12.
The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education conditionally approved three schools for Charter Schools USA. Charter Schools USA Vice President Mitchell Wise said although BESE has given conditional approval for the charter high school, the charter operator will have to get final approval from BESE based on specific guidelines, such as academic performance at the two existing charters.
Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy is a B-rated school; Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy is a D-rated school.