- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

MONROE, La. (AP) - Excellence Academy, a Monroe City charter school is preparing to take legal action against its own school district for failing to distribute funds to the school.

The Excellence Academy Board voted unanimously Monday night to hire an attorney to move forward with a possible lawsuit.

According to the school’s spokesman Roosevelt Wright, Monroe City Schools has not given the charter school Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act funds, which are to be used to meet the needs of special needs students in the past two years.

Wright said the school district has two options for serving the special education students at the charter.

The district may provide the services to the school and charge the school from Federal IDEA funds given to the district for Excellence or the district may give the funds to the school and the school contracts for its own services.

“Last year, we received no special ed funds, period,” Wright said. “It’s sad because it’s about the students. When we have to take our regular MFP (Minimum Foundation Program) money to pay for special education services, we’re spending money that we could be spending on paraprofessionals and other staff.”

Wright said the school has also been excluded from the distribution of the $60 million bond issue approved by the voters earlier this year.

Monroe City Schools superintendent Brent Vidrine did not respond to a request from The News-Star (https://tnsne.ws/1tcQdF4) for comment on the funding issues.

However, in an email provided by Excellence Academy, Vidrine wrote, “The cost of Speech Language services are supported through the MFP fund for Monroe City Schools. You are allocated that allotment through your monthly MFP for Excellence.”

Wright said the Louisiana Charter Schools Association recommended the school contract with a specialized attorney to assist in recovering the disputed funds.

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Information from: The News-Star, https://www.thenewsstar.com

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