Parents, students, and faculty respond to school's abrupt closure
BATON ROUGE - The Career Academy Public Charter High School in Baton Rouge is closing because there is no building to accommodate the students.
The building is rented out by East Baton Rouge Parish Schools and it is asking for the building back for a new magnet middle school set to open in August.
"It's a shame we're in the predicament we're in," said Career Academy Principal Mandy LaCerte.
Before Career Academy opened three years ago, the parish was discussing bulldozing the property at 4375 E. Brookstown Drive because it was in such disarray. The Louisiana Resource Center for Educators stepped in and invested about $650,000 of private funding and grants to fix it up. The school was in need of paint, wiring, Internet and desks. Many of the items needed were donated, including a mock hospital room by Baton Rouge General.
About 240 students currently attend Career Academy, a school that provides students with opportunities for both college and career readiness. The current senior class will be able to graduate, however about 200 students will need to find a new school next year.
"It's a month before school lets out," said one student. "We had plans to come back to Career Academy. Where are we going to go?"
Nancy Roberts, executive director of LRCE says the contract with the school district stated the district could take back the school whenever it wanted.
LRCE has been in talks with the Recovery School District to relocate all Career Academy facilities to the Capitol High campus to be closer to their Career and Technical Labs, but an agreement was not reached.
Career Academy officials, along with the LRCE, said the school will close May 23.
School administrators say they are working to place students, faculty and staff in the event a building is not secure by the end of the school year.