Ville Platte- The 42 year old Evangeline Parish federal desegregation case may be coming to an end in 2012. That is the good news announced by Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin to members of the school board on Wednesday.
Hamlin reported that she, school board attorney Robert Hammonds, Franz Marshal with the U.S. Justice Department, Marion Over White, attorney for the original plaintiff had a one hour conference call with U.S. District Court Judge Tucker Melancon on December 9
Attorney Hammonds was notified to have a motion filed by February 15 asking the federal court to declare the Evangeline Parish School System a unitary status stating there are no longer any vestiges of segregated schools. A hearing has been scheduled for May 16, 2012 in federal court on the request for the unitary status filing. Once the court declare the unitary status, all supervision of the schools revert back to the local school board.
Hamlin also announced to the school board that Judge Melancon made an unscheduled visit to Ville Platte High School two weeks ago. The school board just completed $3.3 million in major renovation work to the school and gymnasium. Judge Melancon spent nearly three hours touring the school and meeting with teachers and students. She said the judge was “very pleased with the progress we made with the school.”
The superintendent commended the school board and staff for working hard toward the goal of achieving unitary status for the school system.
In other business, the school board approved a recommendation from Personnel Director Michael Lombas, pending a review by their attorneys, to enter into a contract with American Academy, to begin a dropout recover program in parish schools. A spokesman for the company said once the program begins, a team will begin contacting past students to enter their program.
In other action, the school board:
--voted to re-elect Wayne Dardeau as President and Jerry Thompson as Vice President for another term in office;
--received news that sales tax collections for the month of November increased $68,019 over the same period a year ago;
--voted to advertise for the appointment of a social worker and an educational diagnostician