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Baker parents weigh options during charter school forum

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POSTED: Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 10:04pm

UPDATED: Monday, March 3, 2014 - 6:05pm

"We believe in choice. We believe that parents should utilize all oftheir options," said Community Organizer Derrius Montgomery. That's what 'Stand for Children' is trying to ensure, when it comes to sending your child to a public or charter school.

These independently owned, federally funded schools are springing up.  "As we all know, there are several charter schools that were recently approved through BESE this past fall," added Montgomery.  "So now, it's about that time where those schools are beginning to set up shop in the community."

School board members, city officials and parents debated the issue and three charter schools were even on site answering questions.  Parents are advised to weigh their options.  "What we would hope is to allow parents to speak out."  Parents like Jerrie Williams, who has three children, all living with learning disabilities.

"I was told that he'd never, ever pass the age of 18 months," said Williams. Well now, her son Micah is 17 and his mom says the spotlight needs to be on public schools.  "Charter schools, what I've noticed, [is that] they leave the special needs children and the children with discipline problems to our local school system."

Other parents aren't so sure.  Chequita Hilliard Young, grandmother and mother of four, said, "Right now, I'm in the middle. I love my city. I love the city of Baker School system, but I also want to know what the charter school can offer my children."  Despite the different views, Parents we talked to on both sides came to one conclusion.  Mekel Johnson, parent of three said, "...If charter suits your child, then that's where your child should be. If public school suits your child, your child should be in public schools.  So Im for whatever best suits your child."

There are over 100 charter schools in Louisiana.  

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