School board votes to continue desegregation lawsuit against Delta Charter

Published 12:43 pm Friday, May 20, 2022

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VIDALIA, La. — The Concordia Parish School Board sat in executive session for more than an hour Thursday to discuss its ongoing federal lawsuit against Delta Charter School.

As a result of this lawsuit, the United States District Court ordered in 2017 limitations be placed on Delta Charter School’s student population by the number of students and their racial demographic.

Meetings in executive sessions are closed to the public and to the media.

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Back in open session, board member Raymond Riley offered the motion “to oppose Delta Charter School’s pending motion to dismiss” the school from “pending desegregation litigation.” His motion further said the school board would “not seek to recover attorneys’ fees from Delta Charter School” related to the monitoring of the school’s compliance with court-ordered obligations in the lawsuit.

This motion passed unanimously.

Riley later explained the action would keep the lawsuit in place so that Delta Charter School would not be able to “take whatever students they want.”

The school board initially filed a motion in federal court in June 2014 alleging that Delta Charter operated in violation of a consent order which allowed the school to open in 2013.

View the consent order document by clicking here.

This agreement reportedly stated Delta Charter would open with 230 students and would be able to increase enrollment by 30 students a year to a maximum of 300 students.

Instead, the school opened with 331 students, parish attorney Bob Hammonds said.

As of a ruling in June 2017, Delta Charter must recruit students under an ordinance which caps the number of Concordia Parish students enrolled at 350 students and the overall enrollment at 500 students while giving minority Black students first priority when granting students admittance.

Ferriday residents have been outspoken about their displeasure with the restrictions on Delta Charter School. Some have said the enrollment process prevented siblings from going to the same school while allowing other students of the same grade level to attend Delta Charter when they live outside of Concordia Parish.

In other matters during Thursday’s meeting of the Concordia Parish School Board, board members unanimously approved a redistricting plan previously adopted by the Concordia Parish Police Jury during its May 10 meeting.

The redistricting plan would move some voters from one district to another to account for population shifts.

Bill Blair of Strategic Demographics previously told Concordia officials that the changes to the districts were minor. The districts needed small adjustments with the end goal of having less than a 5 percent deviation in the population of each district.

According to Blair, District 3-B had the largest deviation at 19.5 percent, gaining 389 people.

District 1-B had a deviation of -14.24 percent losing 284 people followed by District 2 with a -8.07 percent deviation, losing 161 people.

District 5-B gained 152 people and had a deviation of 7.62 percent.