BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - There soon will be a new school for children whose parents are stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base.
Barksdale Global Power Museum Association, is a 501-C3 and the chartering authority for Barksdale Charter School, which Bossier School Board members approved June 2. The school is a Type 1 charter, meaning application was made through the local school board and was approved.
The school will fall under the Bossier School Board in addition to having its own board. Museum board members will be the school's board members. Once Barksdale Charter opens, the size of its board will increase to develop several special and standing committees that will oversee parts of the school and to accommodate participation anticipated from parents.
The school will be on base, probably on the East Reservation. The museum association is trying to lease about 17 acres for the facility.
The school's charter projects initial enrollment at about 400 students. Terry Snook, president of the museum association, expects the school eventually will have about 800.
"It's a change from the status quo," Snook added. "Barksdale has been there a long time. There have always been kids going to school. So it's a big change in that respect; and I think it's a huge step forward, especially for the kids."
Children who live on base will have priority admission, Snook said. Once all those children are accommodated, the rest of the seats will be filled first by children of active-duty personnel who live off base then by children of the school's faculty and administrative staff members. If any openings remain, a lottery will be held to fill them.
"It's a public school, we will be a public school," Snook said. "So there's no pre-test. or screening. It's – they meet that criteria, military dependent on base, military dependent off base."
The school will focus on kindergarten through eighth grade. "High school students of military people on base have school of choice, so they can go to any of the high schools in Bossier Parish; and there are some fabulous high schools there, and we just couldn't replicate that," Snook explained.
With the amount of moving most military children do during their school lives, Snook said it can be comforting to offer a school where most students understand the situation. "It will certainly make life easier for those parents knowing they're coming to a place where their kids can jump right into a place where all the other children in that school have been through this. So it will be easier for their children to make that transition."
The school is in the very beginning of the building process. Snook said if he's being wildly optimistic, it could open for the 2017-18 academic year.
They are relying on private funds and probably will get the majority of the needed funds from bonds, he said. There will be no Defense Department money for the school, which Snook estimated will cost about $15 million to $20 million to build.
There's a checklist of things to do before building. In addition to finding the land, there will need to be an environmental impact study and probably some remediation before building can commence, Snook said. Construction will take at least a year.