New charter school enrollment claims questioned
PLAQUEMINE, La. (AP) — An Iberville Parish school system administrator says she's puzzled by how the state figures the school system will be losing 376 students to a new charter school opening this year.
Jolain Landry, the school system's chief financial officer, tells The Advocate (http://bit.ly/U3NAIj) she's puzzled because there haven't been nearly that many requests to transfer student records to the new charter.
It's no small matter for Landry because a drop in enrollment of 376 students means a loss of $3.7 million in state minimum foundation program funding for the coming school year.
Landry questioned whether the Iberville Charter Academy has been providing accurate enrollment numbers to the Louisiana Department of Education.
"My issue is with the fairness of the way the funding is going about and the lack of information that the local school district is getting," Landry said. "To have a number that large and not to have requested at least 50 percent of the records — something's not right."
Charter Schools USA and The South Louisiana Charter Foundation Inc. announced earlier this year that the companies would be opening a charter school in Plaquemine.
The school, currently under construction, will offer kindergarten through sixth grade classes when school starts Aug. 11.
The charter school has projected its total enrollment at 400 students for the purposes of obtaining up-front funding for its operations from the state and local school district.
"When they released that number I called to ask if the state could confirm that number because I hadn't received that many student (records) requests," Landry said. "They said the charter school is not willing to adjust the number and they weren't going to make them."
Landry said having student records requests on file with the district would prove to her that the money the school district is giving up is indeed going toward the education of Iberville Parish kids through address verification.
State education officials defended their response to Landry, saying its standard procedure to front money to charter schools based on projected enrollment.
Barry Landry, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, said in an email Friday that all state-approved charters opening for the first time are funded based on the projected number of students listed in the approved application.
Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com
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