More than 1,500 to attend Lafayette Parish charter schools

As of Monday, 1,523 students had agreed to attend one of three charter schools that will open in Lafayette Parish in August.

So far, 421 students have said they will attend Lafayette Renaissance Charter Academy based on enrollment information available Monday, said Colleen Reynolds, Charter Schools USA spokeswoman.

The school is managed by Charter Schools USA and is under construction in Couret Farms, a new neighborhood development off of Pont des Mouton Road.

The kindergarten through eighth grade school did not hold a lottery because applications didn’t exceed the 591 seats available at the school after the initial application deadline. The school now has 649 applications with seats filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Students have a week to accept once they’re invited to attend the school, Reynolds said.

As of Monday, 610 students agreed to attend Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy, another kindergarten through eighth grade Charter Schools USA-managed school under construction near Sugar Mill Pond, an established neighborhood development in Youngsville. Acadiana Renaissance Charter Academy received 870 applications.

Applications are still being accepted for both schools with seats filled as they become available, Reynolds said.

As of Monday, Willow Charter Academy was at capacity with 492 students saying they will attend the school, said Jennifer Hoff, National Heritage Academies communications manager.

The kindergarten through fifth grade charter school is managed by National Heritage Academies and will be housed in the former Albertsons grocery store on Castille Avenue, where renovations are now underway. The school held a lottery to fill its 492 available seats earlier this month. The school will incrementally add grade levels through eighth grade.

Students may still apply to Willow, as seats may become available; however, there is a waiting list for each grade, with 733 applications received as of Monday, Hoff said.

The three schools may enroll students from across the state and are eligible to receive a share of state funding and local funding from students’ home school districts.

The Lafayette Parish School System could lose up to $6.5 million in state funding that will follow Lafayette Parish students to the charter schools, said Billy Guidry, the school system’s chief financial officer.

The estimate is based on preliminary enrollment information received from the charter school companies, Guidry said.

About 86 percent of the students who say they are attending Willow Charter are Lafayette Parish students, based on preliminary enrollment information from National Heritage Academies, Guidry said.

About 60 percent of the students who applied to Charter Schools USA are Lafayette Parish students, though Guidry said he’s still awaiting updated information on which students accepted seats at those two schools.

The enrollment numbers also will impact the number of teachers needed, Guidry said. He’s also awaiting more current information to make those determinations for upcoming budget workshops.