Dec. 10, 2010 06:27 PM
The Outreach Community Development Corporation's proposed charter charter school for Lafayette Parish, Harvest Preparatory Academy, had its application for a Type II Charter denied by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education yesterday. The Outreach Community Development Corporation's proposed charter charter school for Lafayette Parish, Harvest Preparatory Academy, had its application for a Type II Charter denied by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education yesterday. The Advocate reports that the National Association of Charter School Authorizers reviewed the applicants for BESE. On Harvest Prep, they wrote: "The applicants appear to have a genuine desire to enhance educational opportunities for students in their community," the evaluators said of the Outreach Community Development proposal. "Nevertheless, serious concerns in the areas of governance, management and finance outweigh the merits of the proposal and militate for denial of the application." Harvest Prep is proposed as a 5th through 12th grade project-based learning charter school to be housed at Good Hope Baptist Church.

Reached this morning, Harvest Prep's Executive Director Tiffanie Lewis says that her organization is now required to go back before the Lafayette Parish School Board to apply for a Type 1 charter. Type 1 charters receive a share of a local school board's per pupil funding, while Type 2 charter schools receive per pupil funding from the state. Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Burnell Lemoine has argued against Harvest Prep, insisting that the school system cannot afford the costs associated with launching the charter school at this time. Based on that history, Lewis isn't holding out much hope with the school board will approve its charter, but says they must go back to the school board before they can re-apply with the state for a Type 2 charter. "We can't lay down," Lewis says. "This is about more than money. This is about children's lives. We're not giving up on our kids."