ST. GABRIEL — After the Iberville Parish School Board on Monday denied its application to open a charter school, the group of North Iberville parents and community leaders pushing for the school will now have to appeal to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The board’s unanimous decision was influenced by a report from a third-party consulting group that panned the application, saying it did not provide a clear vision on how it would meet the proposed school’s goals or better address the grievances against the school district that are fueling the group’s effort.
The charter school application is being backed by a group of parents and North Iberville community leaders still harboring sour feelings over Superintendent Ed Cancienne’s closing of North Iberville High School in 2009.
One of the main complaints with the district is the more-than-hourlong bus rides parents say their kids must endure now to attend Plaquemine High School — the school they had to attend after North Iberville was closed.
According to the application, the group hopes to open a seventh- through 12th-grade charter school called C.S. King College Preparatory Academy.
The application says the school will use a blended learning model that incorporates the use of technology to increase student achievement. The application includes a proposed first-year budget of $2.3 million based on a projected enrollment of 250 students.
That figure is based on the proposed school receiving $8,787 per student through the state’s Minimum Foundation Program — money that would be subtracted from the state and local dollars the school district annually receives, if the charter school opens.
In its report, New Millennium Education, the third-party consultant, advised the School Board that the application does not clearly articulate how opening a new school in North Iberville would implement positive change for kids in a community that was plagued with low enrollment when North Iberville was closed.
New Millennium’s report also says the application lacks plans for intervention, student assessment, benchmarking, daily instruction or student scheduling.
The company’s report also chides the application for “multiple errors and formula issues” in the proposed budget and not presenting a plan for transportation, food service and state data/compliance.
Brandie Blanchard, supervisor of personnel and policy for the school district, told the board that the charter school supporters can now apply to BESE for approval as a Type-2 charter school following the School Board’s denial.
New Millennium Education “feels strongly BESE will not approve it either,” she said.
BESE has approved applications that have been denied by districts six times since 2012 out of 35 appeals made to the state board, Louisiana Department of Education officials have previously said.
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