Beacon Academy could be closing its doors

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A public charter school in the Lafayette area could be closing its doors. But Beacon Academy families are coming together, so students can continue working towards an accredited high school diploma.

Beacon Academy is a non-traditional school where students take on a learning in a different way. Senior Sam Ess said he appreciates learning in a project-based atmosphere as opposed to a lecture-based setting.

The school is tucked behind Temple Israel on Cumberland Avenue in West Lafayette. Ess said Beacon Academy is a school that might not be well-known throughout the community.

“Kids who want something different, something other than the traditional school, but they just don’t know about it. Beacon’s been called the best kept secret in Lafayette,” said Ess.

But Ess is trying to get the secret out. The public charter school is in danger of not reopening this August. That’s a concern for Ess as well as other students and their families.

“I can do well in a traditional school environment. I won’t enjoy it, but I can manage. But there are kids who can’t — kids who really, really need the advisory structure, and exhibitions, and gateways and project-based learning. And those are the kids I’m most worried about. Kids who, you know, need Beacon,” explained Ess.

Director Deb Lukens said Beacon Academy is designed to take in a maximum of 60 students. She said that size affects funding from the state.

“Over the six years that we’ve been in existence, there have been cuts in the state funding, as all schools have had, but being so small means that it hits us first,” said Lukens.

Lukens said the school is not at full capacity. That’s why there will be a meeting Wednesday night for the community to come learn more about Beacon Academy. That meeting will be held at the Tippecanoe County Public Library from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Lukens said board members should know by the end of June if the school can stay open. She said if enrollment increases enough by September, the school would be fine. Ess hopes the public meeting can help.

“Kids who would really want to go to Beacon, but just don’t know about it. That’s who I’m hoping to meet at the meeting and their parents,” Ess said.

Lafayette Schools Superintendent Les Huddle said even though LSC is the sponsoring school corporation, the decision to close will be left up to Beacon Academy.

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