Tangipahoa school board rejects two charter applications

The Tangipahoa Parish School Board on Wednesday denied two charter school applications and tabled discussion on another.

The board shot down applications for Life Preparatory Academy and Hammond Charter Academy. It deferred a vote on Tangi Academy until later in December, when a special meeting is expected to be called to discuss the charter school, among other topics.

The board only had Wednesday’s meeting scheduled for this month.

Tangi Academy is a planned kindergarten through eighth-grade school in Hammond. If approved, it would use space at the African-American Heritage Museum in Hammond.

Life Preparatory Academy proposed a sixth through ninth grade school that would have based in Amite, Kentwood or Independence. Hammond Charter Academy would have served students in grades K-8.

Kim Williams, CEO of New Millennium Education, a third-party organization the board hired to review its charter applications, recommended to the board that they deny the applications for Tangi Academy and Life Preparatory Academy but approve Hammond Charter Academy.

Williams brought up several issues with Tangi Academy, including potential problems with the school’s administrative structure and funding. She said the school faces a $500,000 budget deficit when grants and outside funding, which Williams said has not been secured, are taken out of the equation.

Williams said Life Preparatory Academy had no solid framework plans for curriculum and only had one person responsible for the school’s day-to-day affairs.

Board member Brett Duncan moved to table discussion on Tangi Academy to the proposed special meeting, a motion that passed 5-4. The other two charter school applications failed unanimously.

Board members grilled Anthony Maska, president of the Tangipahoa Charter School Association, which would run Tangi Academy, about funding for the school.

Maska said the association has lined up a $500,000 line of credit with Florida Parishes Bank. He said it has applied for more money from other banks but can’t get the funding until the charter is approved.

Duncan, a supporter of the school, suggested letting the school restructure its budget before the board made its decision. Duncan later made his motion to table.

In other business, the board elected Andy Anderson as board president and Duncan as vice president for 2014. Anderson beat Rose Dominguez, the 2013 vice president, on a 5-4 vote. Duncan was the only nominee for the spot.