The Jefferson Parish School Board failed Thursday night to approve an application for a charter high school on the West Bank.
New Orleans-based Collegiate Academies, which operates three schools in Orleans Parish and is opening one in East Baton Rouge, applied for a Type 1 charter, one that's issued by a local school board. The group wanted to open a high school on the West Bank in 2018, eventually enrolling about 500 students.
But after the agenda item was read, board member Cedric Floyd immediately moved to deny the application. After some discussion, Floyd's motion failed on a 4-4 vote. No motion was made to approve the application.
One board member, Mark Morgan, was absent.
By not approving the application, the board went against the advice of School Superintendent Isaac Joseph, who called the proposal "a good opportunity for us."
"I was hoping the board would accept the application as an alternative (for) high school students on the West Bank," Joseph said.
As part of an ambitious expansion plan, New Orleans-based charter school operator Collegiate…
Board member Marion "Coach" Bonura asked if it would be a problem to defer the vote. Officials said the application approval must be granted by June 1 so that it can be presented to the state.
The four votes against the motion to deny came from Larry Dale, Melinda Doucet, Melinda Bourgeois and Sandy Denapolis-Bosarge.
After the meeting, a clearly frustrated Dale said he was disappointed.
"I've been fighting this for several years," he said as he climbed into his car. "They don't think of the kids."
Morgan, reached by phone Friday, said he didn't want to comment on the issue until he had spoken to his colleagues and that he didn't know whether Doucet, the board president, would call a special meeting to reconsider the issue.
"At this point, it seems the board is clearly split, and I want to hear from both sides," he said.
The rejection by the local board would let Collegiate apply to the state's Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for a Type 2 charter, which even if located in Jefferson Parish would be open to students from any parish.
Or it could seek approval by the Jefferson board at a meeting with all nine members present.
In a statement, a Collegiate Academies spokeswoman said the organization is committed to the "continued exploration of opening a high-quality high school option for West Bank families."