- Associated Press - Friday, September 9, 2016

AMITE, La. (AP) - A U.S. District Judge has denied the Tangipahoa Parish School Board’s request for its staff to be declared desegregated, saying the board needs to provide more information.

In June, the school board requested a final declaration on unitary status for staff assignment, which would mean the court would no longer supervise the school system’s staff employment decisions, reported the Daily Star of Hammond (https://bit.ly/2cLqm9f ). Last summer, the court had granted preliminary unitary status, with a one-year review period.

In its request, the board argued that the school system has met its 40 percent black, 60 percent white diversity goal among staff.

It also said the school system had no major violations during the review period and has continued to comply with the court’s orders regarding staff assignment. Attorneys provided demographic data for principals, assistant principals and central office staff for the past four years - for example, the past school year had 44 percent black principals and 56 percent white principals.

However, Judge Ivan L.R. Lamelle said attorneys representing the board didn’t provide adequate information for him to grant final unitary status. Lamelle dismissed the request without prejudice, meaning the board can make the request again in the future.

“Any subsequent motion needs to include supportive factual documentation, not the board or its counsel’s generally ambiguous, premature, and conclusory assertions,” he wrote.

The board’s attorneys also claimed no complaint stemming from staff employment decisions from the past year “has resulted in a finding of a violation of the desegregation orders by the board.”

In response, Lamelle asked for supplemental information on pending complaints against the district.

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Information from: The Daily Star, https://www.hammondstar.com

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