February 12, 2015

HOPE Christian Schools plans to open in Baton Rouge, with investment from New Schools

A private school operator that serves voucher students is planning to open four schools in Baton Rouge by 2022.HOPE Christian Schools, which currently operates six college-prep schools in Milwaukee and Racine, Wis., is also getting $900,000 from New Schools for Baton Rouge to help it start up its operations in the Capital City.This is the first investment in a private school for New Schools, which has so far invested in public charter schools."That's a component that people would like to see, is having a high-quality, faith-based school option," said New Schools CEO Chris Meyer.HOPE plans to build two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school serving a total of 1,000 low-income students in North Baton Rouge. The first could open as early as the fall of 2016.In Wisconsin, about 90 to 100 percent of HOPE's students qualify for free-or-reduced lunch. The schools say that 100 percent of their high school seniors have been accepted to college for the past three years, that their students' ACT scores beat the national African-American average, and that their K-8 students' scores exceed their peers at district schools.Voucher schools have been controversial: Some of the private institutions have struggled to show they can improve student test scores, and about a third of Louisiana's voucher students attend schools that the state has barred from accepting new voucher students. At the same time, parents have praised their experiences with the programs.N

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