Lawmakers discuss charter takeovers
BATON ROUGE - Federal money and the closing of two schools in north Baton Rouge has drawn the attention of some state leaders, who expressed concerns at a community meeting Thursday.
Several lawmakers met with parents living near Istrouma High Thursday, one of the schools slated to be closed and taken over by a charter school company after years of declining performance.
At the meeting Rep. Ted James, D-Baton Rouge, expressed concern that millions of federal grant dollars were being funneled through the Recovery School District to help charter schools, and leaving public schools out in the cold.
"We're not opponents to choice," James said. "We are advocates of choice and we have a duty to represent our community. People have sent us to our elected position to make sure their voices are heard their voices have been left out of the process."
The lawmakers said they have a plan of action to prevent another case like Istrouma's, but wouldn't go into specifics.
The RSD announced on Oct. 29 that Istrouma High and Glen Oaks Middle School would close next year, and their students would be transferred to other schools. Five other schools in the area controlled by the RSD were also being transferred to out-of-state charter groups.
Members of the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the East Baton Rouge Metro Council also attended the meeting.