Construction has stalled for a new charter school in the Broussard area while the school’s management company awaits an update on when plans for the charter’s opening can move forward.
National Heritage Academies started construction of Broussard Charter Academy late last year within a new business-residential development off La. 89 near Ambassador Caffery Parkway.
The school was planned for an August opening. However, in March, BESE approved new regulations on preopening procedures for new charter schools, including a requirement that a charter operator’s existing schools have a letter grade of C or higher.
At the time of the new regulation, school performance scores were available for only one NHA school in Louisiana, Inspire Charter Academy, which had a D performance score for the 2013-14 school year.
In August 2014, NHA also opened schools in Lafayette — Willow Charter Academy — and in Baker.
Typically, the state releases preliminary school scores in the summer to identify low-performing schools. However, schools won’t have an indication of their performance for the 2014-15 school year until much later — likely the fall — because of the new tests that were implemented this school year.
It’s unclear how soon NHA officials may know when they can move forward with their plans for the school, but “we are working with the Louisiana Department of Education to understand the timeline and the process for opening Broussard Charter Academy,” said Jennifer Hoff, NHA senior communications manager.
In late February, photos taken from the school’s construction site and posted on the Broussard Charter Academy Facebook page show workers laying the cement pad for the building’s foundation.
Work had progressed since the photos were taken, and the first floor of the building is framed.
The 45,000-square-foot school is planned within Ville de Côte Gelée, a new residential and retail development. Like its sister school in Lafayette, Willow Charter, it would open as a K-5 school and add subsequent grades each year to become a K-8 school.
The site in Broussard was selected because of overcrowding in public schools in the Broussard and Youngsville areas, NHA officials have said.
Another charter management company, Charter Schools USA, opened two schools in Lafayette in August: one in the northern part of the parish, Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy, and another in Youngsville, Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy.
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.