Delta Charter receives 7-year contract extension

Published 12:20 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

FERRIDAY — Delta Charter School was approved this week for a seven-year contract extension, the maximum renewal available for a Louisiana charter school.

Delta Charter Assistant Director Monica Miller said she received the news on Monday after the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education unanimously passed the renewal.

BESE President Gary Jones said the number of years approved for the renewal was based solely on school performance score criteria.

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A charter school which scores a D on the state performance tests can only be renewed for three years, whereas C-score schools are eligible for a five-year renewal.

A charter school with a B performance rating, which Delta Charter received on its 2016 test-ing, can be renewed for seven years.

The renewal comes as Delta Charter is working to increase racial diversity in its students, as mandated by a federal judge in June.

The judge’s the ruling that Delta Charter School does not currently match the same racial diversity of the surrounding parish public schools and the mandates that followed, Jones said, had no bearing on the renewal process.

“That’s totally separate from us,” Jones said. “We just consider performance scores. As it stands, (the judge’s ruling) is not a factor.”

By law the school must maintain a student body that reflects the racial diversity of the parish within a 10-percent margin.

Delta Charter School received a mandate from a federal judge that stated the school must restrict enrollment to 350 students and to create a diversity committee to aid in increasing minority enrollment.

The enrollment restriction was stayed for the 2017-2018 school year but will go into effect for the 2018-2019 year.

The judge required that the diversity committee be created within 60 days of the ruling.

When asked whether Delta Charter School had complied with the stipulations of the judge, school attorney Michael Higgins said he could not comment because the court had asked that the school refrain from speaking with news organizations on ongoing litigation.

“Delta Charter School will continue working with the court’s compliance officer to ensure that any and all obligations set by the district court and/or appellate court are met in a timely manner, allowing the school to focus on its goal of providing an excellent education to the children of Concordia and surrounding parishes,” Higgins wrote in an email.

The judge’s ruling followed a 2014 complaint filed by the Con-cordia Parish School Board.

The recommendation for a seven-year renewal was first made by the Louisiana Department of Education and then passed by the BESE.