As the board secretary of Lafayette Charter Foundation Inc., a local nonprofit, 501(c)(3) foundation that operates the Lafayette and Acadiana Renaissance Charter academies, I would like families and members of the community to have the correct information about our two charter schools.

Specifically, I would like to address the following:

Our schools absolutely participate in the National School Lunch Program and offer free and reduced-price lunch to our students. Under state law, students considered at-risk receive a preference in admission to charter schools.

Regarding special education students, our schools actively provide special education services and meet the needs of all special education students. As a Type 2 charter school in Louisiana, we operate as our own local education authority and are legally required to meet the needs of our special education students. We provide personalized instruction for all students, including special education, gifted and at-risk students.

We are assessing the need and feasibility of offering some bus transportation for Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy. If we find that offering some transportation allows us to serve more children in the surrounding communities while exceeding our academic expectations, then we will move forward. The decision will ultimately be based on what is best for all students.

Our contract with CSUSA provides that we pay them a fee that does not go above a specified percentage of revenue. The fee is determined through the budgeting process and can be dispensed only after certain financial criteria for the school have been met. The funding provided for educating students in our public schools — both charter and traditional — is the same and is determined through the Minimum Foundation Program.

What is often left out of the discussions is the level of accountability and expectations that are required of charter schools. We have continual assessments. If we do not meet academic, financial and operational targets, our charter can be revoked. Our success or failure is based 100 percent on our ability to maximize the learning potential of each and every child.

Our schools are making a real difference. Just ask the parents whose children attend our schools. Ask the 200-plus parents whose children are on a waiting list for an opportunity to attend our schools.

Our schools are not a silver bullet that will solve all the educational challenges of our community, but we do believe they are part of the solution. Providing parents with additional choices for their children to get a high-quality free public education is a good thing.

We welcome anyone that would like to know more about our schools or more information about charters to reach out to our schools or local foundation board members.

Gifford Briggs

secretary, Lafayette Charter Foundation Inc.