- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 1, 2015

AMITE, La. (AP) - An attorney says settlement talks in the Tangipahoa Parish School Board’s ongoing desegregation lawsuit could lead to an agreement in the near future.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1DozNBL ) board attorney Ashley Sandage said Tuesday she and Gideon Carter, an attorney representing the parish’s black community, have had productive conversations over the past few weeks, including a lengthy meeting Monday. Sandage says the meetings have centered on the areas in which the district still needs to achieve unitary status - meaning the district has effectively desegregated - such as the district’s plan for assigning students to schools.

Sandage said she hopes to report significant progress in some of those areas soon, “hopefully before school is out this year.”

She asked the board for authority to seek court approval for one version of the district’s modified desegregation plan. The plan would use magnet and thematic program offerings to lure students across attendance lines and desegregate the parish’s schools without drastically changing attendance zones or building new elementary schools, as the current court-ordered plan would require.

Sandage asked specifically for authority to proceed with a version of the district’s proposal that would include sending some students from Natalbany, rather than the M.C. Moore area of Hammond, to Loranger. That version of the plan was “fully vetted” at parish-wide community meetings a few years ago, Sandage said.

The board granted Sandage’s request without opposition.


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

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