State approves Grambling lab schools to convert to charters

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GRAMBLING, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Department of Education has approved a recommendation to convert Grambling State University's three laboratory schools into a single charter school system.

The university says state funding for charter schools means the schools are no longer in danger of closing. The schools are currently financed by a combination of tuition and subsidies from Grambling State and the Lincoln Parish School Board.

Ken Pastorick, spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Education, said the department approved the change this week and sent a letter to notify the foundation.

Alma J. Brown Elementary, Grambling Middle Magnet School and Grambling High School have about 450 students.

Gordan Ford, president and executive director tells The News-Star in Monroe ( ) that the changes will start with the 2016-2017 school year. Grambling State had said that with funding cuts to higher education, it could no longer subsidize the schools.

"If we had not gotten approval this year," Ford said, "likely we would not have continued next year."

The foundation had sought to raise $700,000 for the schools this year.

"The school is now truly a community school," Ford said in a statement. "The Grambling High Foundation Board of Directors will now have responsibility for the school. (They) are members of the Grambling community and have a personal, vested interest in the health and success of the school."

The foundation will work with the Department of Education to agree on a charter school contract. That will include discussions of whether the school can continue to teach students remotely by computer. Ford said the school is considering renewing transportation for students outside Lincoln Parish.

"Once the charter contract is complete, we will begin the application processes for faculty, staff and students," Ford said. "We intend to have most of the hiring complete by the end of May, so we can spend most of the summer in professional development."

The foundation is still seeking donations to make improvements, with a plan to eventually build a new campus.


Information from: The News-Star,

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