Concerns expressed on racial makeup of Tangipahoa schools - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Concerns expressed on racial makeup of Tangipahoa schools

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AMITE, La. (AP) - The number of black teachers and the racial makeup of student populations in Tangipahoa Parish public schools remain top concerns, the district's court-appointed desegregation compliance officer said.

The percentage of black teachers dropped 1.4 percent from February 2011 to March 2012, Arlene Guerin told the School Board this past week.

While new October numbers, not yet compiled, may show that trend reversed, the proportion of black teachers hovers around 20 percent, compared with an overall student population ratio of 50.2 percent black to 49.8 percent white, Guerin said.

The Advocate reports only eight of Tangipahoa's 32 schools are considered fully desegregated, with racial majorities of no more than 65 percent of students.

Guerin said 13 schools are considered "one-race schools" with racial majorities of 75 percent or more.

The School Board voted to request a status conference with U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle to discuss the district's progress toward reaching the goals of its court-ordered desegregation plan.

Board members also may ask Lemelle for guidance on whether changes to the plan are possible.

Board member Brett Duncan has argued that the district's magnet programs and majority-minority transfers have moved the parish's schools closer toward desegregation, possibly negating the need to spend $60 million to build three new schools as ordered by the court.

However, board member Al Link says construction may still be necessary to alleviate crowding at several schools where student populations exceed capacity.

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Information from: The Advocate, http://theadvocate.com

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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