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Inadequate facilities keep BeauVer Christian out of state voucher program

Last Modified: Saturday, February 23, 2013 6:19 PM

By Nichole Osinski / American Press

BeauVer Christian Academy in DeRidder was deemed ineligible for the state’s voucher program a second time. The Department of Education recently approved 133 private schools to receive voucher students for the 2013-2014 school year.

According to reports, BeauVer was the only school in the state excluded from participating in the program. The department reported that officials conducted a site visit to the campus and determined the facilities were not adequate to accept scholarship students. In an e-mail to the American Press the department said the site visit revealed there were several missing components of fire safety regulations including missing documentation of evacuation routes, lack of fire extinguishers in modular classrooms and missing ceiling tiles in classrooms.

The report also listed inadequate kitchen facilities for feeding additional students. In addition, it was found that an individual who had been convicted of financial misconduct was affiliated with the school last year.

The e-mail stated that “the Department had received information that this individual had retired; however, Department officials determined that this individual is still involved in the direct operations of the school.”

It was reported that these issues were the same during a site visit to BeauVer Christian Academy before the 2012-2013 school year.

Criteria for participating voucher schools had first been released July 11, 2012. BeauVer had originally been approved for 119 voucher students for the 2012-2013 school year.

Non-public schools have to be approved and deemed eligible for the voucher program by the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Under Bulletin 133—Student Scholarships for Educational Excellence, participating schools have to comply with federal, state and local laws and “regulations pertaining to the health, safety, and welfare of students for public or non-public schools, as applicable.”

The most recent inspection of the school by the state fire marshal was done on Sept. 26, 2012 for either new or remodeled buildings. The final inspection covered five facilities citing two minor structural changes needed. The first was a 1.25 inch difference in an exterior doorway landing; the second a wheelchair ramp that needed a size adjustment. The school has until May 31 to complete the corrections.

Though the application process has closed for the 2013-14 school year there is no restriction on applying again when the next application process opens up.

“They can apply every year if they update the facilities,” said Press Secretary Barry Landry. “But until they fix all of the reasons they were rejected again this year, which a lot of it is the facilities, then the same thing will keep happening.”

BeauVer Christian Academy Director Sheral Zeno declined to comment.

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