Dec 7, 2011 8:58 PM by Shawn Kline
The Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approves St. Landry Parish's first charter school, to open in Opelousas next fall despite strong opposition from the St. Landry Parish School Board.
"We are really excited about the possibilities for the students of St. Landry Parish," Tiffanie Lewis of Outreach Community Development said.
Mark one down in the win column for charter schools but nearly two-million will go down in the loss column for St. Landry Parish schools.
"We hate to lose that money." Acting Superintendent Donnie Perron says the district will lose, "probably $2-million per year."
Perron strongly opposes the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education's decision to approve the charter school.
The school board, already in a numbers crunch, could lose out on millions of tax-dollars.
"That's going to be a big hit for us." Perron says, "we're just going to have to make some additional cuts... it'll just make it a little more severe."
Lewis says the new charter school, opening next fall as JS Clark Leadership Academy, gives St. Landry Parish students a choice in education. That's something she says low income families didn't have before.
"Just because you're of a lower income, you should also be able to have choice as well," Lewis said.
Perron calls it "bad timing."
Lewis says, for parents looking for ways to get out of a "failing" school district (this year's district performance score is a "D"), the timing is just right.