Charter school proposed in Baker

Wednesday, November 2, 2011 - 6:11pm

BAKER, La (FOX44) -- Patricia Haynes was appalled when she saw the school work her grandchildren were bringing home.

“I’d see they were corrected wrong, or I’d see that a teacher would write instructions for them and they didn’t use proper English or grammatical sentences,” she explains.

Two years ago, her grandchildren moved to Central for better schooling. “They weren’t getting it here,” Haynes says.

This year, three out of the five schools in Baker have a failing grade. The other two schools have D’s.

“Somewhere, somebody dropped the ball,” Haynes says.

That’s why non-profit organization, Education Explosion Inc., wants to bring a charter school to Baker. The CEO of the organization, Chakesha Scott, presented the charter school proposal to the Baker School Board Tuesday night.

Education Explosion provides extra educational services to the school systems they say are in trouble. That’s how Scott realized Baker needed to take a different educational approach.

“Charter schools offer more flexibility in how students learn,” Scott explains. “It gives the parents in the community another option on how their children are educated.”

Scott says many of the school board members responded negatively to the idea of a charter school. That’s because they worry that the charter school would take money away from the Baker schools. Scott says that’s probably true.

“If we brought in 100 students from K through 3rd grades, it would probably take away the need for some teachers in the Baker schools,” she says.

Scott says it would probably cost about a million dollars to run the charter school, and that money would come from Baker schools.

Ulysses Joseph took the superintendent position for Baker schools back in January. When he took the job he implemented some new programs to better the system. Joseph is opposed to the charter school idea. He says he wants to give his programs time to grow and develop before he switches gears.

She says a lot of Baker parents have expressed an interest in the charter school, but Haynes isn’t among the supporters.

“I don’t actually think that they do the job any differently, or better. [They] cost more money,” she says. “You take away money fro the Baker schools that would be spent on teachers’ workshops or advertising for teachers that are good.”

China Johnson just moved to Baker in April. Her fourth grader goes to Baker Heights Elementary, one of the schools with a failing grade. “I think they should give the teachers a chance,” she says of bringing in a charter school. “I think they do an excellent job.”

Scott says the school board is expected to vote on the proposal at the next meeting. That will be December 6th. She says if the board doesn’t vote in favor of the charter school, the system could end up in big trouble down the road.

However, some parents say, they’re just not ready for that change. “I don’t want to give up on the system that’s already in place,” Johnson explains. “I really don’t.”
 

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