The three white buildings on the opposite side of BeauVer Christian Academy's campus are the original buildings. The American Press received contradicting reports from school director Sheral Zeno on whether these buildings were used for classrooms or as a nursery. (Karen Wink/ American Press)
School director Sheral Zeno said the classrooms inside the five new temporary buildings were not used last school year, however, a report from the Office of the State Fire Marshal indicates otherwise. (Karen Wink/ American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, June 22, 2012 8:56 PM
BeauVer Christian Academy in DeRidder failed to pass inspection by the State Fire Marshal’s Office on Monday. The inspection report reads, “No occupancy granted until a final inspection has been completed by this office.”
BeauVer is one of the four area schools approved for the Louisiana Scholarship Program. BeauVer was approved for 119 voucher positions by the state Department of Education. With a tuition of $350 a month, the school stands to receive nearly $400,000 if it reaches its target enrollment.
The American Press recently looked into fire marshal inspection reports regarding BeauVer Christian Academy dating back to April 2011.
The records showed that after inspection in June 2011, the school was not approved for occupancy. The school was officially asked to cease and desist occupancy in January 2012 due to safety issues and fire code violations.
Despite the order, BeauVer Christian Academy carried out the entire 2011-2012 school year and enrolled about 90 students in grades K-12.
The school’s campus is made up of a front office building and a collection of temporary buildings that serve as classrooms. There were five new temporary buildings that were inspected. Three smaller white trailers sit on the opposite side of the property. These are the original school buildings.
“We have two sides to our school. We were never told to cease occupancy in our original buildings, and that’s where we had class last year. We never occupied anything illegally,” said Sheral Zeno, the director of the school.
However, when the American Press visited the school in early June, Zeno said the school did not use those original buildings as classrooms.
“When we first started out, we used one for elementary, one for middle school and one for high school, but we’ve been able to turn them into a nursery/PreK area,” Zeno said during the visit. “Now these (the five buildings) are the new accommodations, which have been really awesome.”
Each of the five buildings holds two classrooms.
A report from the fire marshal’s office on Jan. 18, 2012, also indicates the buildings were still being used despite not passing inspection.
“Upon arrival at CP inspection, it was determined that all five new modular buildings were being occupied for educational use without a final inspection conducted by OSFM,” the report reads.
The inspector from the fire marshal’s office then issued a cease and desist order of occupancy, and Cleco Power Co., the school’s electricity provider, was contacted to disconnect all permanent power to the building. The cease and desist order of occupancy can be found on all inspection reports from January through March 2012.
Monday’s inspection report also noted that BeauVer’s modular buildings do not have electric power at this time.
Zeno did not comment on the most recent report.
Nicholas Bolt, deputy chief of staff for the state Department of Education, said the department was “aware of all those problems.”
“We did conduct a site visit recently. Initial approval was granted based on the schools being compliant with the law, which means they were a state-approved nonpublic school and they meet the requirements of Brumfield vs. Dodd (a court ruling that pertains to nondiscrimination guidelines),” Bolt said.
“In the next two weeks we will release the criteria for final approval in the program. At that time we will assess whether the schools which have been initially approved meet that criteria and release the final list of approved schools.”
In the original announcement for the voucher program, the Department of Education did not say the schools were only preliminarily approved. School officials were also not initially told that their schools would have to go through another vetting process.
The application process for all participating schools opened May 22 and are due by June 29.
On the application for the voucher program, parents ordered the schools they wanted their child to attend by preference and were able to list five choices.
Bolt said that though some schools may not be approved, it shouldn’t affect the application process. “Not saying that this school (BeauVer) will or will not be approved, but in the event the school is not actually eligible, we will do our best to honor parent’s choice,” Bolt said.
“Parents were able to select up to five schools, and we will move on to their next choice if their first school does not meet
BeauVer Christian Academy Inspection Report 6-20-12