Similar to what the Jefferson Parish Council did a day earlier, Kenner City Council members on Thursday passed a resolution generally supporting the Kenner Discovery school’s charter renewal and its plans to expand.
Both council actions come after Kenner Discovery Head of School Patty Glaser said she received phone calls earlier in the week warning that some School Board members may try to revoke the school’s charter and impede its efforts to expand.
Some members of the School Board — which was scheduled to meet in Gretna on Thursday night — told The New Orleans Advocate on Wednesday that they had not heard of any such plans.
One of those members, Marion “Coach” Bonura, said system administrators and attorneys were merely meeting with members of a task force created after the Jefferson Parish public school system got out from under federal oversight in 2011 to gauge whether campuses were succeeding in desegregation efforts. Bonura said he wondered if the Kenner Discovery community may be worried about that.
For their part, officials who sponsored the recent Parish and City Council motions supporting Kenner Discovery have repeatedly pointed out that the 800-student school has an A rating from the state. They have said the pre-K to eighth grade school is also in demand, with some 1,300 students having applied for 200 seats available at the school for the next academic year.
Kenner Discovery was hoping to build a facility accommodating 1,900 students from pre-K through 12th grade on a tract of land at Loyola and Vintage drives. But, at Bonura’s urging, a narrowly-divided School Board in February voted to set aside the tract Kenner Discovery coveted to be the future home of Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies, which is currently in Metairie.
The new Haynes campus is contingent on the public’s approving a bond issue and property tax increase that would pay for millions in new or renovated facilities for the school system.
Officials have said the vote in February left Kenner Discovery with the option of either buying land near the tract allocated to Haynes or looking for a site elsewhere.
Whatever the case, supporting the growth of Kenner Discovery is in the best interest of its home city, Councilman Dominick Impastato said Thursday.