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Troubled Baton Rouge charter gets new life, plan for new management

on Wednesday, 19 April 2017 19:48

A plan for new management at an otherwise doomed Baton Rouge charter school won easy approval Tuesday from the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The school that was in jeopardy, Baton Rouge Charter Academy at Mid City, appeared done in December when BESE voted to close the school amid dismal student performance.
The school, which serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade, has never scored above an F in the state's annual public school ratings.

But leaders of GEO Prep Academy, a C-rated charter school, successfully proposed taking over Baton Rouge Charter Academy starting with the fall of 2017.  GEO Prep is an open enrollment operation and 98 percent of its roughly 250 students come from poor homes, according to state documents.

The plan will allow Baton Rouge Charter Academy to have up to 630 students.

State Superintendent of Education John White said GEO Prep has done a good job in its two years of classes.

The president of GEO Prep's board of directors is Linda Johnson, a former member of BESE.

Johnson was on hand for the meeting, but did not address her former board since the proposal won swift approval.

The plan is for GEO Prep to lease Baton Rouge Charter's campus, which is at 1771 N. Lobdell Blvd.

GEO Prep is operated by the GEO Foundation, a nonprofit group in Indianapolis.

Baton Rouge Charter has been managed by Charter Schools USA, which is based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

While Tuesday's action was done by a BESE committee, final approval is all but certain when the board meets on Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Charter schools are public schools run by non-governmental boards.  They are supposed to offer students innovative options minus some of the rules that govern traditional public schools.