LAFAYETTE — Charges have yet to be filed against a school counselor arrested in January on allegations of money laundering, according to the 16th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.
Burke Elementary School counselor Chiffonia Jackson has been on leave without pay since February and had faced termination for job abandonment.
A recommendation that she return to work effective Aug. 5 is among the many personnel changes up for the School Board’s approval at its regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Superintendent Burnell Lemoine said the recommendation that Jackson return to work was made after consultation with the board’s attorney, Dawn Morris.
“At this point, there have been no charges brought against her,” Lemoine said Tuesday. “It has been six months, and we can’t continue to keep (Jackson) on leave without pay.”
Jackson was arrested by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office in January along with her husband and fellow Lafayette Parish Schools counselor, Kenrard Broussard, for allegedly laundering drug money.
Iberia Parish Sheriff’s officials have said the money laundering arrests were related to Broussard’s May 2010 arrest on drug counts. Broussard was released from the Iberia Parish Jail on March 2 and awaits trial for the drug charges that stem from his May 2010 arrest, officials at the jail and District Attorney’s Office confirmed Tuesday.
Rob Vines, the assistant district attorney assigned to the case, did not return a call for comment Tuesday, however, his office confirmed that no formal money laundering charges had been filed against Jackson or Broussard and that the case file was still under review.
Both employees have been on leave without pay since Feb. 2, a decision contested by Jackson and Broussard in separate petitions for judicial review.
Jackson has been employed by the school system for nearly seven years. She took a sabbatical leave in August. She was set to return to work in January, but was in jail from Jan. 3 to Jan. 31.
In April, the School Board was set to consider a recommendation that Jackson be terminated based on a claim that she abandoned her job when she failed to return to work after her sabbatical. The termination hearing was postponed pending the District Attorney Office’s decision about the criminal allegation.
Jackson’s attorney, Alfred Boustany II, did not return a call made to his office Tuesday afternoon for comment about the status of Jackson’s petition should she return to work.
At the time that Jackson was placed on leave without pay, he said the board would owe her back pay when she was found innocent of the allegation against her.
In Jackson’s petition for judicial review, Boustany stated that the District Attorney’s Office had offered not to file a formal charge against Jackson if she agreed to forfeit her interest in two seized vehicles that were in both her and her husband’s names.
Boustany stated in the petition that Jackson declined “because she is not guilty.”
The board will convene twice Wednesday before its 5:30 p.m. meeting — first, at 2:30 p.m. for a workshop on Thibodaux Career and Technical High School, and at 3:30 p.m. for a special meeting to decide whether to uphold the termination of bus driver Harold Thibeaux.
Thibeaux was involved in the March 14 bus accident that killed 6-year-old La’Derion Miller.
To view agendas, visit: http://esb.lpssonline.com.