Delta Charter granted stay, allowed to open with current enrollment

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2017

By Christian Coffman

FERRIDAY — A federal judge granted a stay Wednesday, allowing Delta Charter School to delay enrollment restrictions until the 2018-19 school year, clearing the way for the school to open in the fall with its entire current student body.

The stay halted restrictions originally placed on the school last week by the federal court’s determination that the school’s enrollment did not match the same racial diversity of the parish’s public schools.

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The original order further restricted the enrollment from the current 502 students down to a maximum of 350.

The Concordia Parish School District had filed the original complaint in federal court in 2014, which prompted last week’s original restrictions.
“It’s been kind of a blow to Delta Charter and the board who have always fulfilled their obligations … to the community,” Delta Charter School Board Attorney Christie Wood said. “The potential loss of any student is very important to the board.”

Delta Charter petitioned the court for the stay to avoid having to disrupt students just two months before school would begin.

Wood said after Wednesday’s stay the number of enrolled students would remain the same as it was last year and that students and their parents need not worry about being removed from the roll for the upcoming school year.

Wood also said a kindergarten class may be added in order to fill the extra 30 seats and for the sake of “continuity in education.”

“My interpretation is that we will be allowed to add the kindergarten class … we will have to work together to figure out if any of those kindergartners will come from Concordia Parish,” Wood said.

Wood said that if Concordia Parish School District wishes to hold the Delta Charter School back on the kindergarten issue, then that would keep the school from increasing the minority population, an original grievance from the parish.

“A Concordia Parish goal in filing the original motion was to ensure that Delta enrolled minority students as well as white students,” Wood said.

Delta will be reenrolling the other 470 and enroll the equivalent of 30 more students, which may end up being kindergartners, the parishes they would be coming from still uncertain.

“There may be a small number of new students that are enrolled, but I don’t anticipate that,” Wood said. “We’re not going to have available slots for more than 30 kids. The purpose of the order was to prevent state discrimination based on race.”