School board to consider charter school applications tonight

    The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board will begin considering 10 charter school networks that applied to open new schools in the district at a special meeting tonight.

    The schools being considered tonight are Basis Baton Rouge (K-12), Mentorship Helix Aviation Academy (K-12) and Mentorship Legal Academy (K-8), Xcel Technical Academy (9-12), Bellissimo Beginnings (pre-K-3), and Kennedy Elementary Charter School (K-5).

    The school board will continue its proceedings on Monday afternoon for KIPP (two K-8 and one 9-12), CSAL elementary (K-5), Louisiana Connections Academy (virtual) (K-12), Auspice Academy (K-12), and Carmouche Performing Arts Academy (6-12).

    The school system currently has 10 charter schools, four of which opened in 2018.

    A previous effort by KIPP to enter the Baton Rouge market was rejected by the school board, with opposition led at the time by Pat Smith, now a member of the state Legislature. KIPP—along with CSAL, BASIS and Mentorship—have the backing of New Schools for Baton Rouge, an organization founded in 2012 to recruit and support a new network of high-performing schools in Baton Rouge.

    Katie Blunschi, an evaluator hired by the school district, suggests the board approve three of the districts: CSAL, BASIS and KIPP.

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