Parents petition Lake Charles College Prep’s decision to bring on management company

Published: Sep. 30, 2022 at 9:49 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Parents are petitioning Lake Charles College Prep. This comes after teachers protested earlier this week as the school board signs back on with Charter Schools USA as its management company.

School officials said this allows them to align all charter schools under one management structure.

“We are a prep family and want to stay a prep family,” a parent, Crystal Noel said.

The board of Lake Charles College Prep’s decision to bring Charter Schools USA back on as their management company prompted a protest by teachers earlier this week.

Teachers said they disagree with the decision because it does not benefit the students or faculty.

The school was previously managed by Charter Schools USA.

7News reached out to BESE (Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education) for clarification. It said per recommendation by the department, a probationary extension was granted for the charter – which was an F-rated school at the time – contingent on the school submitting an improvement plan and replacing the school’s management organization.

Now, parents are joining in asking the charter’s board to reconsider.

“After they previously failed our children and our school, it prompted us to say, you know what, if the people we trust don’t trust it, then let’s look at this, and figure out what’s going on,” a parent, Jen Johnson said.

However, president of the Charter Academy Foundation, Gene Thibodeaux said parents and faculty are misinformed. He said in a previous interview, the new contract would be different this time.

“The management company will not disrupt the instruction model that now exists,” Thibodeaux said. “It will allow teachers to teach as they have done and allow our leadership team to lead.”

Parents said the goal of the petition is to create a clear line of communication.

“To help determine what’s the best course of action moving forward, whether it’s a management company or self-governed body,” Johnson said. “Whatever it is, that it has the best interest of our students at heart.”

Parents fear the move could deter the faculty from staying.

“We’re going to lose all of our faculty, all of our staff, all of our coaches, everything that we built up,” Noel said. “Everything that we built up, we’re going to lose it all.”

Thibodeaux said the board wants to meet with parents to discuss the situation further.