Charter School Denied

RRPJ-Charter School Denied TOP1-18Jun6

The Red River Parish School Board said “No” to the applicants for a charter school in the Parish. The board voted unanimously to accept the recommendations of an independent evaluator hired to examine the application from Advantage Charter Academy. A special called meeting of the board was held Monday night to consider the application of proposed School Director Crystal Cummins.

Speaking in favor of the application were Cummins and Traci Schmidley of Coushatta. Schmidley spoke first expressing her desire that there be ore options for the school system. She said when her family moved to Coushatta two years ago she was told the parish education system was weak, that some people had opted to attend private school or out-of-parish schools. Schmidley said, “A new, innovative approachmay bring back people who have left the public school system.” And Schmidley added, “New innovation is very attractive to industry and others to show the community is growing and thriving.”

Cummins began her presentation by stating, “I am not the enemy. I taught in Red River Parish and I loved it. I left to have a baby.” The proposed charter school would be a Montessori school. Cummins related that she had seen the Montessori system help a neglected child to grow. And she said children who have a greater capacity to learn “explore areas of interests with reading added in and math added in.”

Randy Thomas, Jr. addressed the board with several questions he had concerning the application. His first question was, “How would this benefit the parish? How many students? What is the impact on transportation needs?” Thomas said he saw an ad for the school several months ago and at that time it was a private school. Thomas asked, “Was there a reason for the change to this type of school?”

Another speaker was Tarina Duplantis. She told the board, “My daughter gets all that Montessori claims to offer. She is now getting it at Red River Elementary School.” Duplantis said she graduated from the parish and has a daughter who graduated here. Both have college degrees. Duplantis made the point “It is what the child takes from the school.”

Then the board heard from Kimberly Williams, the third party evaluator. Williams said she studied the application and all information she could find out about the principals of the proposed school. Her recommendation was to deny the application based on several factors.

Williams’ report questioned the applicant on finances, lack of a proven school leader, how the Montessori program would meet the needs of “at-risk” students in the parish, and the applicant was criticized for failing to provide a plan to improve student performance.

Following the presentations, board member Gary Giddens moved “to accept the recommendations to deny the charter application from Advanced Charter Academy.” Board member Susan Taylor seconded the motion. All members of the board voted in favor of the motion to deny.

After the meeting The Journal asked School Superintendent Alison Hughes for her response. Hughes said, “It was a win for public education. The school board is doing everything possible to give the best possible education to students. We give all options available to the students. I think the charter school is not needed at this moment.”

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5 thoughts on “Charter School Denied

  1. As one of the parents who chooses to take my child out of the parish, I am disappointed by the school board’s decision. This charter school would have offered the opportunity for children to learn hands on, and at their intelligence level instead of sitting in a classroom bored because they are may be more advanced than their peers. Public education is deteriorating at a fast pace thanks to our state and federal government thinking education is no longer a priority. Not all of us who value our children’s education can afford private school. Can someone please explain why our school board has to provide transportation to a private school that is a for profit school but can’t support a charter school?

    • Well I glad you think that the parents that choose to send our kids to public schools in RRP don’t value their education!!

      • No where in anything I said did I say the parents don’t value their education. Saying those of us who care can’t always afford private school is pointing out that many of us with our children in public school DO care. Reading comprehension is a wonderful thing. Please refrain from telling others what they think. If I thought it, I would have said it. We seem to have money to worry about sports fields, but not enhancing our children’s educational experiences. I personally feel education will take our children farther in life than sports will. No offense to sports, I just feel like a good opportunity for another way of learning was passed by. Not all children learn the same way.

  2. Sorry I graduated coushatta not red river. I think the charter would have been better but what do you expect. It’s red river. School system ain’t gonna change for nothing. It’s ok there gonna mess up bad enough to get themselves looked at by the state.

  3. I am saddened that so many let a good chance toward education get away from them. No need to complain about the school system any more. Montessori schools are free just like public schools an could have offered your child so much.

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