LCCP teachers protest move to “Charter Schools USA” management

Published: Sep. 27, 2022 at 10:29 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Parents and guardians lined up to get their children at Lake Charles College Prep today after some teachers did not show up to work in protest of the board’s move to bring “Charter Schools USA” back on as the school’s management company.

Several LCCP teachers posted the following to the KPLC Facebook page to explain their position.

Several Lake Charles College Prep teachers posted this graphic to Facebook, giving a reason why...
Several Lake Charles College Prep teachers posted this graphic to Facebook, giving a reason why they took PTO today. The president of the board of the Southwest Louisiana Charter School Association said the teachers took the day off in protest of school policy.(Lake Charles College Prep teachers)

“After 4 years of consistent growth despite natural disasters and global pandemics, the board of Lake Charles College Prep has chosen to transfer management to Charters School USA, who was previously removed as a managing partner per the guidance of BESE. The administration, faculty, and staff of LCCP stand united in disagreement with this decision. The reason for our disagreement is because the decision does not benefit the students or faculty and only stands to benefit the board members.

“THIS IS NOT THE PREP WAY!!!!

“We ask for the support of the community as we seek to weather this latest storm as we provide high-quality education of choice for the young people of Lake Charles.”

-Your Teachers & Faculty of Lake Charles College Prep

KPLC reached out to BESE (Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) for clarification. Kevin Calbert, communications manager with BESE, provided the following response.

“Regarding ‘guidance of BESE’ around the 2018 timeframe, in December 2017, on the recommendation of the LA Department of Education, BESE granted a probationary extension of the charter for Lake Charles College Prep (at the time an F-rated school managed by Charter Schools USA) contingent on 1) the school submitting an improvement plan to the LDOE in alignment with the LDOE School Redesign Rubric, and 2) replacement of the school’s management organization with a new management organization.”

However, president of the Charter Academy Foundation Gene Thibodeaux says the move to switch management to “Charter Schools USA” was made to align all the charter schools under one umbrella.

“It’s important to understand the board was unanimous in this, they want the same management structure in all 3 schools,” explained Thibodeaux. “The school has to be accountable to somebody and to someone. We all have to be accountable, it’s impossible to not respond to a higher authority such as the board. The board sets the policy and we expect the schools to follow that policy.”

Thibodeaux says the new contract with “Charter Schools USA” would be different than the last time they were in a management position and only responsible for administrative matters like finances and HR. Meanwhile, decisions on what happens in the classroom would be made locally.

According to the Charter Academy Foundation, “Charter Schools USA” will take over management on July 1, 2023.