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Positive Negotiations Continue in Desegregation Case
Positive negotiations in the Joyce Marie Moore federal desegregation case are ongoing, and the district has formed an advisory committee comprised of a diverse group of community leaders to discuss local issues impacting the local school system.
Tangipahoa Parish School Superintendent Melissa Stilley said Friday that she remains “more optimistic than ever” that the district’s new approach to resolving the more than 50-year-old federal desegregation case has Tangipahoa moving in the right direction.
“Communication is crucial, and in my opinion, we have over the last several weeks engaged in some of the most open, honest dialogue between the parties. I can’t help but feel optimistic and extremely hopeful that we making progress to resolve this case,” Stilley said.
The new advisory committee will meet with Supt. Stilley on a regular basis to provide community input on the case and discuss other issues affecting students and local schools. The nine-member committee includes former Hammond Mayor Tom Anderson and retired TPSS desegregation officer Arlene Knighten Guerin, both attorneys, who will serve as co-chairs of the council. Also serving on the board are Zata Ard, Southeastern Louisiana University President Dr. John Crain, Kingsley Garrison, Rev. Mack McCraney, Lil Mirando, District Attorney Scott Perrilloux, and former principal and current Southern University Board of Directors member Ann Smith.
“I am honored to be working with this advisory committee, and I am so thankful to have the counsel of these esteemed members of our community,” Stilley said.
In February, the Tangipahoa Parish School Board voted to change their legal strategy in the more than 50-year-old federal desegregation case. Class counsel began collaborating shortly there after, opening discussions and brainstorming steps to bring about peace, unity, and resolution among the people in Tangipahoa Parish. The strategy marks a positive effort to move the case along faster and save money in legal fees.
There are six green factors that must be met in order for the school district to reach unitary status: transportation, extra-curricular, facilities, staff assignment, teacher assignment, and student assignment. The district has obtained full unitary status (green checks) in two green factors – transportation and extra-curricular, and provisional unitary status (blue checks) in facilities and staff assignment.