2 groups approved for new charters schools in East Baton Rouge Parish

2 groups approved for new charters schools in East Baton Rouge Parish

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - More charter schools are coming to East Baton Rouge Parish, but not ever school board member wants them in the district.

EBR Parish School Board member Dawn Collins said she doesn't like the charter school movement in the district, saying it doesn't need charters. Charter schools are programs that get state funding, but operate independently from the school district.

At Wednesday night's meeting, the board approved applications from two groups, IDEA of Texas and Inspire NOLA of New Orleans, to start building new charter schools in the parish. Currently, there are already eight charter school groups in Baton Rouge.

"Those people weren't offering us anything better than what we have and can do," Collins said.

She also doesn't like schools competing against each other for students.

"The nature of the movement, though some like to argue otherwise, it's to compete for students," Collins said.

While Collins is worried about competition, one of the charter school groups said that they just want to offer students other options, and that their school system has special incentives.

Emily Hartlett, the executive director of strategy and advancement for Inspire NOLA, said its high school in New Orleans has a 100 percent graduation rate, and they want to work with the district to find the best schools for students.

"We're really just trying to provide additional options for students in collaboration with the district," Hartlett said. "We're not trying to take away students from the district at all, but we're just trying to provide more quality options."

Inspire NOLA wants to build three K through eighth grade schools and one high school in the parish. The organization want to start building next year, but it has not decided on locations yet.

The other charter group, Texas-based IDEA, has never built schools in Louisiana before. They also plan on starting four programs.

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