Grambling High Foundation will present the charter application for Grambling State University Laboratory Schools on Wednesday, Feb. 18. The group is scheduled to speak with the Lincoln Parish School district. The meeting will take place at I.A. Lewis Elementary School at noon.
The team has been in constant communication with staff members from the Louisiana Department of Education and feels confident that the application will be approved.
This will allow the charter school to operate in the 2016-17 school year. Once the school becomes chartered, the Grambling Laboratory Charter School will be a fully funded independent public charter school. The school will continue to operate on GSU’s campus until sufficient funding is secured to build a new school complex in Grambling. Initial planning for this new school complex is already underway.
According to Gordon Ford, the president of the Grambling High Alumni Association and the GHF, the biggest hurdle the school faces today is remaining open next year prior to charter conversion.
Ford said it appears that sufficient funding has been secured or pledged to operate the school next year.
So if everything goes as planned, the lab schools will be opened next year.
The financial problems facing the lab school have been known for years. However, this year Grambling State University officially canceled all financial support to the lab schools.
Ford said multiple regional and national charter organizations have been inquired about helping the institute operate. He said the foundation has not moved forward with any of them. The plan is to remain confident in the alumni base to sustain the schools.
In November, the foundation outlined a plan to raise more than $700,000 from within the alumni family. Those funds, along with outside fundraising, are estimated at over a million dollars.
Ford said that would be “solid footing to secure the future” for the only secondary school in Grambling.
“We set a goal of $100,000 by the end of January and to date we have only raised $20,000 and much of that has come from a handful of folks,” said Ford, who attended the lab schools and have two children currently enrolled.
According to Ford, there are 40 active, dues-paying members of the GHS Alumni Association.
“I understand that many people are still not engaged yet, but we don’t have much time remaining,” he said. “I am asking each of you to please support this effort or at least tell us why you will not. These are our schools. But they may only remain ours if we support them.”
Ford said the essential part of the charter application is community support, or lack there of.
“The only true proof of that support is funding,” said Ford. “Many people outside of our community still doubt that we will do this. This is within our power. If we don’t do it we can only blame ourselves.”