NEW ROADS — The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board on Thursday put the brakes on pending litigation to recoup more than $1 million from the state’s Recovery School District, which the school district intended to use for much-needed repairs at Pointe Coupee Central High School.
The board made the unanimous decision after board President Frank Aguillard announced the school district will be receiving $959,966 from the state.
The allocation from the state was made possible by talks Aguillard had with local lawmakers who shared the School Board’s sentiments that the state owed the parish school system the money after RSD left the property in shambles when it returned control of the campus to the board last year.
“I just thought it was my duty as the board president to approach our local representatives in the Legislature about this,” Aguillard said after Thursday’s meeting. “There was no telling how long this would have lasted in court if we had sued, and there was no guarantee we would win.”
Central High was shut down in March for the 2014-15 school year by U.S. District Judge James J. Brady.
The state’s Recovery School District, which ran the school for six years, asked the court in March to return jurisdiction of the school to the parish school system after the state failed to improve the school’s academic performance.
For the past year, the board has been tackling, bit by bit, a laundry-list of repairs that it says RSD had promised to address but never did.
Also Thursday night, the board gave outgoing Superintendent Linda D’Amico an emotional send-off with praises and reflection of her more than 30 years of service to the school system.
D’Amico, who has served as superintendent for 5½ years, will retire from the school system on June 30.
“You’ve postured this district in a position to really move forward,” board member Chad Aguillard said to D’Amico. “I know we haven’t always agreed on everything, but I’ve always felt you wanted to do the right thing for the kids in this parish.”
Board member Les Ann Grezaffi lauded D’Amico for putting together the amazing staff that helped support her vision for the district.
“You organized a staff around you that will all but die for you,” she said. “Your commitment is something to be admired.”
D’Amico closed her final School Board meeting by revealing it was always her dream to lead the school district since she started teaching with the parish 33 years ago.
“It has been challenging but also rewarding,” she said, fighting back tears. “I leave with mixed emotions. I’ve experienced just great things here.”
Ronald Kevin Lemoine, acting superintendent of the special school district for the Louisiana Department of Education, will step in as the next superintendent next week.
Follow Terry Jones on Twitter @tjonesreporter.