AMITE - The Tangipahoa Parish School Board has spent $3,025,554 in connection with the revived Joyce Marie Moore desegregation lawsuit filed in federal court against the board more than 46 years ago, according to a new report handed out Tuesday.
That information was disclosed Tuesday when School Board member Brett Duncan, of Hammond, circulated the report on the suit’s expenses just before the board went into an executive session near the conclusion of its regular meeting.
The report, initialed by Schools Superintendent Mark Kolwe, was issued in response to a request from board member Sandra Bailey-Simmons last month asking for a total of all costs related to the lawsuit. The case was first filed in 1965, but lay dormant for decades before being revived four years ago.
The largest portion of the money, $874,000, was paid to Nelson D. Taylor, the legal counsel for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The case was reactivated in 2007 through the efforts of the Tangipahoa Parish Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
The board has spent $685,352 in costs paid to the law office of Charles Patin, who has assisted the board in dealings with the court over the desegregation case.
An additional $269,483 in “fees and costs” was paid to the law office of Alton Lewis and Ashley Sandage. Another lawyer, Jay Augustine, was paid $91,068 in connection with the case.
An additional major expense, $471,000, went for salaries and benefits for employees who were paid to assist in the case. A total of $208,845 was paid in salaries and benefits to what was listed as “Athletic Director” during this time period.
More money was spent by the board on planning and promotion of a tax measure placed before the voters in May that was soundly defeated. Other funds were spent on additional salaries and benefits for persons involved in the lawsuit, for office expenses, public relations and various other costs, according to the report.
Bailey-Simmons said in an interview that the figures released Tuesday do not reflect what the ultimate cost of the lawsuit might be. She said that additional money will have to be spent before the case in finally concluded.
Among the items discussed by the board in its executive session was the Joyce M. Moore case. However, the board reported when it returned to the public meeting that no action on the matter had been taken.
Other matters before the board included:
MILLAGE RATES: The board unanimously adopted millage rates for the coming fiscal year and Chief Financial Officer Bret Schnadelbach noted that all mileages except one will be lower than last year.
The largest tax reduction went to Hammond District No. 1 Accelerated Magnet Program, which was set at 7.5 mills. That millage will be discontinued as funding for the magnet programs will come from a different source in the coming year.
NEW SCHOOL: Polk Construction Co. was awarded the contract to construct the new O.W. Dillon Elementary School in Kentwood at a cost of $13 million.