Charter Schools USA eyes former Runnels preschool location for new charter

Charter Schools USA has applied for a permit to renovate the former Runnels preschool building on Jefferson Highway for use as a charter school.

Design Build Associates this week filed the expedited commercial plan review permit on behalf of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based charter school chain, which currently operates nearly 100 schools in five states: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Louisiana.

Charter Schools USA already has a school in Baton Rouge—the South Baton Rouge Charter Academy off Burbank Drive.

A corporate spokesperson was unable to provide comment before this morning’s deadline.

Founded in 1997, CSUSA serves over 75,000 students from communities of varying needs, according to its website.

Its permit application comes one year after The Runnels School permanently closed all grade levels, due largely to a decadelong decline in enrollment and other financial difficulties that plagued the 55-year-old independent school. 

At the time of its closure, school founder Kelly Runnels attributed the enrollment decline to the current and increasing abundance of good and free schools in and around Baton Rouge.