Judge OKs consent decree in Jefferson Parish desegregation case

May 15, 2008
Court will monitor school system for 3 years before federal supervision ends

After rejecting the original version two months ago, a federal judge has agreed to sign a revised consent order that will let the Jefferson Parish (La.) school system carry out a districtwide desegregation plan and eventually end a decades-long period of federal supervision. Judge Kurt Engelhardt says the finalized order is "the beginning of the end," as it marks the start of a three-year process in which the courts will monitor the district to ensure it is correcting lingering imbalances and adhering to the order.
Click here to read The New Orleans Times-Picayune article.

FROM MARCH 2008: A federal judge has refused to sign a proposed consent decree that would have helped resolve a decades-old desegregation suit in the Jefferson Parish (La.) public school system. U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt says the document fails to provide a "narrowly tailored solution" to fully desegregate the district and root out pockets of racial inequality. The judge called the decree a "vague, generalized and open-ended plan" and gave attorneys 90 days to conceive a new document that more specifically addresses the concerns he laid out. Dozens of magnet school parents and others oppose the changes outlined in the decree and have been fighting to halt its progress. The rejection sets back the school system's efforts to free itself from federal oversight by achieving fully desegregated status.
Click here to read The New Orleans Times-PIcayune article.

FROM DECEMBER 2007: For the past 36 years, black students in Jefferson Parish, La., have been bused to campuses outside their traditionally drawn districts as part of a federal desegregation order. Next school year, the practice of busing across those boundary lines could conceivably disappear, returning the entire system to one composed primarily of so-called "neighborhood schools." It's too early to say exactly how the change will affect the 1,200 black students now being bused away from their neighborhood school, but lawyers say it's likely that most would return to their neighborhood schools
Click here to read The New Orleans Times-Picayune article.

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