Tangipahoa board reject charter school application

The Tangipahoa Parish School board on Wednesday rejected an application for a charter school in the parish, its third such rejection in a week.

The application for Hammond-based Tangi Academy, which would have been run by the Tangipahoa Charter School Association, failed on a 6-3 vote.

The board on Dec. 4 also rejected two other charter applications. The board began discussing Tangi Academy at that same meeting, but board member Brett Duncan asked his colleagues to push the discussion back to Wednesday.

Tangi Academy, a planned kindergarten through eighth-grade school, would have used space at the African-American Heritage Museum in Hammond.

The Tangipahoa Charter School Association tried to start a charter school called Leadership Academy in the same space a few years ago.

The parish School Board in November 2010 rejected the association’s application for a parish charter, but the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education granted the association conditional approval for a state charter in January 2012.

However, the association did not meet all of its requirements to run the school and lost its charter, said Barry Landry, a state Department of Education spokesman.

The association then re-grouped and formed the Tangi Academy effort.

Kim Williams, a third-party charter application evaluator for the parish, recommended to board members last week that they deny the Tangi Academy application because of issues with the school’s administrative structure and funding.

BOARD JOINS SUIT: The Tangipahoa School Board also voted unanimously to join a class action lawsuit alleging that local school districts are owed millions of dollars because the state’s school funding formula was flawed for three years.

The suit was filed in July on behalf of the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board and the Louisiana Association of Educators, along with its local affiliates.

Other school boards in the state have voted to join the lawsuit.

The lawsuit stems from a Louisiana Supreme Court ruling earlier this year that nullified the state’s funding method for its expanded voucher program.

In that ruling, the Supreme Court also threw out Louisiana’s 2012-13 school funding plan, called the Minimum Foundation Program, saying it had been approved illegally. The court said the plan was not filed with the Legislature in a timely fashion, among other problems.

The court said those issues dated back to 2010.

The suit also alleges the Legislature should have increased the funding by 2.75 percent a year because of a mechanism that requires automatic funding increases.