Attorneys for both sides of Tangipahoa Parish’s desegregation case agreed Wednesday on a student assignment plan for desegregating the parish’s schools, the school district announced.
If the federal judge overseeing the case approves the plan, the School Board will use the 2015-16 school year to notify parents and otherwise prepare for full implementation of the plan beginning the following year, school officials said in a news release Wednesday afternoon.
The student assignment plan — a significant component toward ending this 50-year-old lawsuit — would use magnet and thematic program offerings to lure students across attendance lines and desegregate the parish’s schools.
Ashley Sandage, one of the School Board’s attorneys, had asked the board Tuesday night for authority to seek court approval for a version of the plan that would relocate some students from Natalbany to Loranger, rather than from the M.C. Moore area of Hammond.
That version of the plan will now go to U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle, in New Orleans, with the blessing of both sides.
Sandage and Gideon Carter III, an attorney representing the parish’s black community, said Wednesday that it was the “productive discussions” over the past few weeks and continued assistance from court compliance officer Donald Massey that led to the agreement. Sandage and Carter will continue to meet on a regular basis to try to resolve remaining issues in the case, such as faculty and staff assignments, and facilities.
Details of the new student assignment plan will be posted to the school system’s website at tangischools.org. The plan was previously vetted at several parishwide community meetings, Sandage has said.
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