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District leaders "more optimistic than ever" over deseg talks

Posted: Friday, March 15, 2019 | Views: 1939

District leaders "more optimistic than ever" over deseg talks

Just one month into their plan to meet with class counsel and open dialogue to resolve the longstanding Joyce Marie Moore federal desegregation case, Tangipahoa Parish School System officials are more optimistic than ever that the parish can obtain unitary status in this case.

Following the decision last month to change their legal strategy in the more than 50-year old federal desegregation case, the collaboration between class counsel began in mid-February with discussions around progress in the case thus far and brainstorming steps to bring about peace, unity, and resolution among the people in Tangipahoa Parish.

School Superintendent Melissa Stilley described the strategy as an 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.





















The district recognizes that in order to completely gain full unitary status in facilities a master plan must be developed in that area.

Stilley says, “We have many portable buildings across our parish and explosive growth east of Hammond and Ponchatoula that we need to plan for strategically. Building out a five-year strategic plan on facilities is the first bucket of work in our school system’s strategic plan.”

The schools system’s strategic plan can be found on the website at

Round table discussions with class counsel are focused on talking through how to achieve full unitary status on facilities by creating a districtwide master plan that will be cost effective for the school system.

"Contracting with an outside consultant can be pricy, so it’s important that we work together to build out a master plan for facilities that both parties feel will meet the growing needs of our school district without high costs to taxpayers,” Stilley said.

The district is committed to giving monthly updates on the progress of the case moving forward, Stilley said. “Just like we do academically with our students, we will be sharing updates and progress reports with the community every 30 days or so to keep everyone informed on movement in the case.”

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