NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The federal judge overseeing Tangipahoa Parish's decades-old desegregation case has denied the school board's request for a status conference to discuss possible modifications to the court-ordered desegregation plan.
U.S. District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle instead directed the attorneys to meet in an effort to reach a consensus on issues of concern including possible modifications to standing orders/decrees before a status conference is scheduled.
Lemelle warned the parties that any proposed major modification of the consent decree having the potential effect of nullifying desegregation of the school system and contrary to clear legal precedent will not be tolerated.
The Advocate reports the school board voted Jan. 22 to request the status conference to discuss proposed changes to the plan, including clustering schools, creating regional attendance zones and increasing the number of magnet programs throughout the parish.
Board member Brett Duncan has said the proposed changes would allow the system to desegregate the district's schools more quickly and more effectively, without increased taxes, dramatically different attendance zones or the three new elementary schools required under the current plan.
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