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Parish school board says no to charter school

VIDALIA — The Concordia Parish School Board adopted Thursday a resolution opposing the granting of a charter for the Delta Charter School in Ferriday.

The Delta Charter School board had appealed to federal courts to be allowed to open in the fall of 2013, and the CPSB’s attorneys had been contacted about the school board’s opinion, Superintendent Paul Nelson said.

After discussing the matter with the school board, a resolution opposing the charter was drafted, Nelson said.

The resolution states that the racial makeup of the Concordia Parish school system is 50 percent racial majority and 50 percent minority, and that the school board opposes the granting of a charter to a Concordia Parish school that will be funded with public money if that school is not representative of the 50-50 racial makeup.

“The CPSB feels as though any publicly-funded charter school in the parish should consist of the same racial make-up as that of the parish school system and asks that a charter not be approved without a guarantee of federal oversight to ensure that the charter school group complies with said racial makeup,” the resolution states.

Board member Warren Enterkin said the school district is not afraid of competition, but that he believes the charter school and the school district should operate with a fair basis of comparison.

“We want them to adhere to basically the same testing polices we have so that when they are compared against us, it will be a level playing field,” Enterkin said. “If they have some ideas and methods that work, we might want to look at them, but if they have some that don’t work, they might want to coordinate with us.”

Nelson said that under current rules, the charter school will still have to subject its students to the same kind of testing as the other parish schools, including the LEAP and iLEAP tests.

“They have some advantages about the selection and dismissal of students that we do not have,” Nelson said. “Some observers have said that often charter schools remove students who are not high performing, so often times it is not a level playing field.”

In other news:

• The board adopted a revised personnel evaluation policy that takes into consideration student test scores when evaluating teacher and administrator effectiveness.

Nelson said the changes were made to bring the school district into line with state law.

Board President Gary Parnham said he did not believe such a policy would be beneficial to schools, and board member Raymond Riley said such a policy could seriously affect teacher and administrator morale.

“I am going to vote for it, but I do not approve of it,” Riley said.

• Nelson announced he would be forming a superintendent’s advisory council consisting of two students from all grades 7 – 12 from every school.

“We are going to talk about bullying, and we are going to talk to the kids about their ideas for improving our schools,” Nelson said.

The group will meet once every six to nine weeks, he said.