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|Charter school denied, efforts continue|
The Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) has denied the proposal for a Type II charter school in Franklin Parish for this year. The board reached its decision on Wednesday after hearing recommendations by the State Authorized School Oversight Committee in Baton Rouge.
"Our board is obviously disappointed in the decision," said Nick Poulos, representative of Franklin Parish Charter School, "but we will continue this fight because children in our parish deserve a quality public education."
Poulos stated that the charter school board of directors would receive a full explanation regarding any weaknesses in an effort to strengthen the current proposal for resubmission next year. Informational workshops will be offered again in the summer and the charter proposal
"We are working to strengthen our proposal," said Poulos. "We will continue the workshops in the summer and then resubmit in the summer of 2009, with an anticipated opening date of Aug. 2010."
Several community information meetings were held in an effort to bring awareness to the public regarding charter schools, which are often mistaken as "private" schools where tuition is required.
A charter school is a public school, open to any student free of charge. Charter schools are required to meet faculty qualifications and tine-in-class standards.
They are established to provide options for parents to send their children to schools that may more closely meet the particular needs of that child. Charter schools are free from many of the laws and regulations governing public schools, while still accountable for student achievement results.
Charter schools are designed to encourage innovative strategies to meet the needs of students, particularly those "at-risk."
They are called "charter" schools because they operate under a five-year charter agreement subject to a third year review.
Through community meetings and a website established for potential students, parents and guardians were asked to complete intent applications for their school-age children. More than 600 intent forms were submitted with 56 percent of those applications from students who currently attend school outside Franklin Parish.
"We are encouraged by this number of intent forms," said Poulos, "and we will continue this worthy fight for the children in Franklin Parish to have a quality education."
Organizers of the Franklin Parish Charter School are asking all interested parents and guardians to contact them through their website at email@example.com and www.franklincharter.com.
Poulos stated that the 2009 charter proposal could also include requests for a Type III, IV or V charter school, as well as Type II.
According to the Louisiana Department of Education, Type I charter schools are issued and governed by the local school board; Type II schools are chartered and governed by BESE and may include new start-up schools or the conversion of an existing school; Type III schools are chartered and governed by the local school board for conversion of an existing school; Type IV schools are chartered by the local school board with BESE and may be a new start-up or conversion of an existing school; Type V schools are chartered by BESE for a pre-existing public school under the jurisdiction of the Recovery School District (RSD).
Type I, Type III, Type IV or Type V charter schools receive funding from the Minimum Foundation Program, which flows through its local school board or the Recovery School District, if a Type V charter school. Type II charter schools receive funding from a general fund appropriation which flows through the State Department of Education and BESE.
"Many families have left our parish and removed their children to attend schools in other parishes," said Poulos. "Those that can did, but those who could not, had their children sentenced to failing schools in a failing district. We have an opportunity to decide whether quality education in Franklin Parish is a right for everyone or a privilege for the few."