Walter Pierce

Charter pitch set for Wednesday

by Walter Pierce

A week after submitting a more than 250-page charter application to the Lafayette Parish School Board, a Lafayette non-profit will make its pitch to the board Wednesday evening for opening a public charter school in north Lafayette for the 2010-2011 school year.

Outreach Community Development Corporation — a group of educators and community members concerned about what they consider substandard education in four northside schools — wants to use N.P. Moss Middle as the site for the proposed Harvest Preparatory Academy. That facet of the pitch is already complicated by the fact that the Baton Rouge planning firm hired to help the school system devise a comprehensive facilities master plan has already recommended that Moss be used for a public technical high school. Moreover, several school board members have already expressed their opposition to another public charter opening in Lafayette, citing a siphoning of resources away from traditional public schools.

OCDC Executive Director Tiffanie Lewis told The Independent late last month that the plan is for Harvest Prep to accept 90 students in grades 5, 6 and 7 and to increase one grade level per year until it reaches 600 students in grades 5 through 12. HPA will accept students who currently attend J.W. Faulk and Alice Boucher elementaries, N.P. Moss Middle and Northside High.

Lewis also told The Independent that if the LPSB declines to approve the charter application, OCDC is prepared to go straight to the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval.

For more on OCDC’s vision for the school, see our Nov. 4 article.