HAMMOND, La. -- A vote three weeks ago, asking a federal judge to change part of the desegregation order over Tangipahoa Parish schools, has spawned another plan from people unhappy with the first one.
The alternative idea was pitched to parents in the Hammond area Monday night.
The original plan only changes the student assignment portion of the desegregation order. It calls for restructuring grade levels in some schools and rezoning 2,000 students to those schools. It was approved by the school board, earlier this month, in a 7-2 vote with plenty of emotional response surrounding it, from both the board and affected parents.
The modified plan is now on its way to the court for consideration, but one board member wants an alternate idea looked at.
'Some people are disappointed, especially people in the Magazine Street, M.C. Moore area,' said Eric Dangerfield. 'They are very disappointed that their kids would be bused over to Loranger.'
Dangerfield said his plan would lessen that busing because four Hammond-area schools would be restructured to include a maximum of three grades in each. All of those schools would offer the same magnet programs.
He said the plan would require fewer students to be bused out and will offer attractive, quality programs for students being bused in.
'We feel like this plan offers four things, in particular, inclusion, equal access, equal opportunity, and accountability,' he said.
Creators of the modified plan headed to the courts for approval now say this new plan is too late and too off track from the district's desegregation goals.
'While this proposal may address a certain segment of the parish, and even actually one constituency within the parish, it ignores a lot of the goals and objectives for the rest of the parish,' said Board Member Brett Duncan.
But Duncan said there's always room for adjustments along the way.
'Even as we're implementing the new plan, if there's new and better ideas, we will consider them,' he said, 'However, what we don't want to have happen is for this thing to just continue year after year after year without any progress.'