LAFAYETTE — A Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education committee on Tuesday recommended the full board reject plans for a Lafayette Parish charter high school focused on career and technical programs.
The committee voted against the application from Kingdom Builders Community Development Corp. based on recommendations by Louisiana Department of Education staff and a third-party reviewer, SchoolWorks, an educational consulting company.
The application now goes to the full board, which meets Wednesday.
The nonprofit group applied to open a high school that would offer career and technical classes to students in grades 9 and 10 as early as the fall of 2015, with an expansion through grade 12 in subsequent years.
The SchoolWorks review credited the applicants for “a strong and detailed knowledge” of workforce needs and alignment of its instructional programs based on research by universities and the state workforce commission. SchoolWorks, however, proposed that the application be denied because of four factors: a limited capacity of its board of trustees; the absence of a solid contingency plan for the first year of operation; no evidence of demand for the school to enroll a projected 400 students; and questions about start-up funding.
The Lafayette Parish School Board rejected the application in June, opening the door for the group to appeal directly to BESE. Before the application was considered by the Lafayette board, Superintendent Pat Cooper said he told the school’s organizers he would not support the application because the parish isn’t in need of more charter schools.
Last year, BESE approved two charter applications from different organizations whose applications were rejected by the Lafayette Parish School Board. Cooper had testified at the BESE committee hearing in support of those applications, saying there was a need for additional schools to address overcrowding in the parish. The two organizations opened three charter schools and two more are planned, including a high school.