Changes spark worry about La. desegregation cases
Changes to the state's multibillion-dollar school funding formula pushed by the Jindal administration could create problems with ongoing desegregation lawsuits in five parishes, parish education leaders say. Avoyelles Parish officials had been hopeful they were nearing the end to more than 40 years of federal oversight of their school system because of past segregation practices. But parish officials are telling Louisiana lawmakers that the school funding formula changes will jeopardize their ability to persuade a judge that they have achieved unitary status. The federal desegregation lawsuit was filed against Avoyelles Parish in 1965, seeking equal treatment and funding for all students. Parish District Attorney Charles Riddle says if lawmakers pass the 2012-13 statewide funding plans, they'll be challenged in court because of possible wide-ranging implications on the civil rights cases in his home parish and the parishes of Plaquemines, Lafourche, Richland and Ouachita. State education leaders disagree, saying the funding changes don't affect the bottom line of whether every student has an equal opportunity to pursue an adequate education. The $3.4 billion funding plans for the upcoming school year are one step from final legislative passage, awaiting approval on the House floor. The Senate already has backed the formula. Read the full story from The Associated Press here.
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