Magnolia Charter school will open in Caddo Parish in August of 2013. Right now there are 2 other charter schools in Shreveport, Linear Leadership Academy and Linwood Public Charter School. Those were previously failing schools that the state took over, but directors of Magnolia say this school will be different because it's a brand new school they're building from the ground up.
Katheryn Griffin loves her grandchildren, but she worries they aren't getting the best education in Caddo Parish schools.
"None of the schools are performing except for the magnet schools, and you have to test to get in there," said Griffin.
That's why she has applied for them to go to Magnolia School of Excellence next year.
"They sound like they're really gonna work with the kids and have after school tutoring that's free," she said after talking to board members of the new school.
Members or the charter school's board say families like Griffin's are exactly who they hope to serve.
"Choice for families who are looking for something different for their children. This is more of less like a private school or a magnet school, but there's no tuition and there's no test to get in so it's open to anyone in Caddo Parish," said Dr. Phillip Rozeman, a board member.
The state will fund the school with public dollars, but a group called Charter School U.S.A. will run it. The Florida based company is not new to Louisiana. They also run 2 schools in Lake Charles. During it's 1st and only year of state testing the Louisiana Department of Education website shows Lake Charles Charter Academy scored a "D" in both math and reading.
Magnolia board members say the school in Shreveport will focus on individual learning plans for each child and have a goal to get every child to perform at or above grade level. The school hopes to attract students and families who want to work hard.
"One of the things that's very important about this school it that it is a school that encourages and really demands parental involvement. There will be times when parents will need to work up here at the school, and that's a part of the agreement of being in the school," said Rozeman.
The new school is being built off of Clyde Fant Parkway near Stoner Park. There are about 100 spots per grade K-6 for next year. Eventually the school plans to add a 7th and 8th grade class.
KSLA News 12 reached out to Caddo Parish schools to see how they feel about the new charter school. Superintendent Gerald Dawkins sent us a statement saying, "We are the authorizer of the Magnolia Charter and have worked with them throughout the process. We acknowledge that they are an option for parents but feel more strongly in our schools and programs. If we experience losses in enrollment, we are prepared to deal with that."
Any parents interested in the new charter school should apply by March 15th. At that point if they have more interest than slots they will have a lottery to determine who will get in.
Magnolia School of Excellence will have a meeting for parents on Tuesday, Feb. 5th night at 6 p.m. at Riverview Hall in Shreveport to answer questions.