Tangipahoa board to offer desegregation plan - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Tangipahoa board to offer desegregation plan


AMITE, La. (AP) - The Tangipahoa Parish School Board will seek public input on cost-saving alternatives to the district's current desegregation plan, including the addition of more magnet programs, redrawing attendance zones and clustering schools.

Attorney Bob Hammonds tells The Advocate the board met in executive session for more than five hours Monday to discuss ways to effectively desegregate the parish's schools without spending an estimated $54.5 million to build three new elementary schools as required under a court-ordered desegregation plan.

Attorneys will turn the options into a draft outline for a proposal that will then be subject to a public hearing.

Hammonds said there is no set timeline for drafting the outline, getting input from stakeholders and seeking approval from U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle, who oversees the district's 47-year-old desegregation case.

The attorney said he hopes to have a first draft complete before winter break, however, because some School Board members have said they would like to implement whatever plan is agreed upon by the fall of 2013.

"It's a very ambitious timeline, but I wouldn't say it's impossible," Hammonds said.

Board members referred all questions about the proposal to Hammonds, who was generally mum on the specifics. However, he said that the options discussed included adding more magnet programs or "educational enhancements" in parish schools, redrawing attendance zones, and pairing or clustering schools by grade levels.

Board member Brett Duncan said last week the board was considering creating regional attendance zones in which parents would have multiple options, including at least one magnet program, for schools in which to enroll their children.

The board's goal, Hammonds said, is to put together a tentative proposal in order to elicit comments from the public.

"Sometimes I find if you go to a community without a plan and just say, 'Tell us what you think,' you get silence," he said. "The outline will be something to begin from. It's intended to be 'a' plan, not 'the' plan."


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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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