Norman parents hoping to start public charter school with French immersion program

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NORMAN, Okla. - A group of parents are going the extra mile to immerse their children in a foreign language.

Earlier this year, budget cuts forced Norman Public Schools to cut the French immersion program at Reagan Elementary.

Now, a group of parents are hoping to continue the program through a public charter school.

"They love learning foreign language. They love learning about new cultures. We've seen a passion for learning and we really just want to be able to continue to foster that passion and offer it to more kids in Norman," Jody Britt, who will be the vice president of Le Monde International, said.

Norman parents went to Portland, Kansas City and Oklahoma City to find out more about starting a charter school.

Le Monde International plans to have every class taught in a foreign language, except for English class.

The school will rely on state funding, grants and private money.

"As any public school we will receive state funds and also, as most public schools, we will rely on fundraising and supportive foundations," Jennifer Clark, Secretary of Le Monde International, said.

The parents estimate operating costs for the K-6 grade charter school to be $1.1 million in its first year.

Although the school would operate independently, Norman Public Schools would oversee the charter school to make sure it is meeting academic standards.

"To sponsor a charter is something that we haven't done before in Norman Public Schools," Alesha Leemaster, spokesperson for Norman Public Schools, said. "So we're really looking at the process of a valuation of the proposal. We're looking at the details to see if it's something we are able to sponsor."

Organizers for the possible charter school say it will likely be housed in a temporary space its first year.

The district has 90 days to answer.

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