BROUSSARD — It’s unclear when National Heritage Academies will receive clearance to resume construction of its planned school in Broussard, but NHA officials are still hoping for an August 2016 opening.
Construction of Broussard Charter Academy remains at a standstill until NHA receives the go-ahead from the state, said Jennifer Hoff, NHA spokeswoman.
But that rests on how well students at another NHA charter school in Louisiana are performing.
Last year, the Michigan-based charter school management company was able to open two more schools in Louisiana: one in the Baton Rouge area and one in Lafayette, Willow Charter Academy. But plans to open Broussard Charter Academy for August 2015 stalled because of a new state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education policy requiring charter operators’ existing schools have a letter grade of C or higher before the operator can open a new school.
At the time, 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.
Hoff said NHA officials are confident its existing schools’ scores would qualify Broussard Charter for a 2016 start date.
But confirmation won’t come until November when the state is expected to release school performance data from the spring’s Common Core tests.
“State law and BESE rules require new schools open only when the organization’s other schools have a strong track of progress,” said Barry Landry, the state education department’s public affairs director. “We are compiling this year’s test results and will soon be able to determine whether this year’s results indicate such a track record for National Heritage Academy schools.”
NHA had started construction of Broussard Charter Academy last year within Ville de Côte Gelée, a planned retail and residential development off of La. 89. Plans for the school involve a 45,000-square foot building and an anticipated enrollment of up to 520 students in kindergarten through fifth grade. A grade level would be added each year to grow into a K-8 school — similar to its plan at Willow Charter Academy.
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