Schools out from under deseg order

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By Carolyn Roy
carolyn@natchitochestimes.com

One of the most important decisions to affect public education in Natchitoches Parish in 35 years has been made by a federal court judge.

At the committee meeting Tuesday, Supt. of Schools Dale Skinner said he received a call late Friday from U.S. Federal Judge Dee Drell saying he had granted a motion for declaration of unitary status for the local school system.

Skinner would not comment on what the declaration will mean to local schools since there will be a meeting Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 5 p.m. for attorneys to detail the ramifications of the decision.

Generally, it means the school board can make its own decisions about staffing and student assignment without oversight from a federal judge.

Skinner said that every facet of the system, from teachers to lunchroom workers, had played a part in the outcome.

While there have been many reasons for the declaration, a major part has been the effort for board Personnel Director Linda Page to recruit minority teachers.

He also believes that the system improving from a C to a B District was a factor. “We are improving and we’re doing a lot of good things.”

The Natchitoches Parish School Board has been under a federal court desegregation order since 1981.

See the Thursday edition of the Natchitoches Times for more information on the court decision.