TPSS is Granted Provisional Unitary StatusA new chapter in the Tangipahoa Parish School System begins Wednesday, as district leaders received word that the federal court has granted them provisional unitary status in one of the country’s last-remaining school desegregation cases.U.S. Eastern District Court Judge Ivan Lemelle signed Document 1661, a court document declaring provisional unitary status to the Tangipahoa Parish School System in its longstanding and landmark federal desegregation suit, Joyce Marie Moore v. TPSS, which dates back to 1965.In the 44-page court document which includes a nine-page attachment, Lemelle credits open communication between the opposing parties, collaboration, and Superintendent Melissa Stilley’s “team-oriented approach” to problem-solving as “vital to TPSS’ current successes” in meeting the goals outlined for the district in resolving this longstanding case.“We find that the TPSS has met its burden of establishing, among other things, that it has demonstrated a good faith commitment to complying with the court’s existing orders and setting forth a plan, as hereinabove modified, to advance toward final unitary status following a three-year probationary period,” Lemelle’s order reads.“This is a day that our entire community has wanted for many, many years,” Stilley said. “Our district has strived for decades to reach a resolution to the complaints filed by the Moore family on behalf of so many underprivileged and underserved children. Today’s ruling shows that the people of Tangipahoa Parish have worked together to make our public schools better."Stilley said a copy of today’s court document will be posted on the district website with links on the TPSS social media pages.
Judge Lemelle stated, "The System’s current record of good faith and compliance cannot be ignored."“This is a great day, but we still have a lot of work to do,” Stilley said. “We thank the court for their acknowledgment of our progress, and we hope to continue to find favor with not only the court but also the public and particularly the families we serve in providing fair treatment and equal access for all.Today’s ruling by the federal judge marks tremendous progress in the long standing federal desegregation case, a measurable accomplishment of a goal that we all have been working toward for a very long time, Stilley said.