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LINCOLN PARISH SCHOOL BOARD Ruston, Louisiana SPECIAL CALLED SESSION Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:30 p.m.

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LINCOLN PARISH SCHOOL BOARD Ruston, Louisiana SPECIAL CALLED SESSION Thursday, June 21, 2012 12:30 p.m.
The Lincoln Parish School Board met in Special Called Session on Thursday, June 21, 2012, at 12:30 p.m. in the Board Room of the Lincoln Parish School Board Office, 410 South Farmerville Street, Ruston, Louisiana. Members present were Ms. Debbie Abrahm, Mr. Otha Anders, Mr. Michael Barmore, Ms. Lisa Best, Mr. Curtis Dowling, Mr. Danny Hancock, Ms. Mattie Harrison, Ms. Lynda Henderson (arrived after the meeting began), Mr. Trott Hunt, Mr. Eddie Jones (arrived after the meeting began), Mr. George Mack, Jr. and Mr. Joe Mitcham. No board member was absent. President Otha Anders called the meeting to order, and the invocation was given by George Mack, Jr. Ms. Abrahm led in the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag. Mr. Anders welcomed guests. Upon a motion by Mr. Barmore, seconded by Mr. Dowling, the Board unanimously voted to approve the agenda as printed. Ms. Henderson arrived at the meeting. Superintendent Danny Bell noted the only item of business to be considered was a Resolution to join the Louisiana School Boards' lawsuit opposing Act 2 (HB976) and SCR 99 (MFP) of the 2012 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature. The LSBA Board of Directors had unanimously voted to coordinate and participate in a lawsuit seeking to have them declared unconstitutional and/or a violation of state law. They directed attorney Bob Hammonds to prepare the suit which is to be filed on or before Friday, June 29, 2012. Nineteen school districts have already passed resolutions indicating their desire to participate in such litigation, and approximately 14 others are considering the same. He called attention to a Resolution which must be approved if the Lincoln Parish School Board would like to participate. Mr. Jones entered the meeting as Mr. Bell began to speak. The primary concern of Mr. Bell with the passage of Act 2 and SCR 99 was using state funding to support private schools, paying college tuition for early graduates, and paying for on-line virtual and other course providers using funds constitutionally dedicated to support K-12 public education. Also, amounts of state funds to be dispersed to the groups were derived using a calculation of both state and local funding which determines the cost of educating students in each parish. In Lincoln Parish the LDOE has calculated the total to be $8,532 per pupil: with the state's share approximately $4,800 and the local would be just a little over $3,700. Backing the total out of the MFP could have a significant impact on district funding and a devastating effect on the Lincoln Parish School System. Superintendent Bell voiced his concerns to State Superintendent John White at a recent conference they were both attending in Lafayette. He strongly believes the LSBA decision to file suit is appropriate and should be done. After providing several instances in the past 20 years when the Board had filed suit against the state, Mr. Bell asked the Board to authorize the institution of litigation opposing Act 2 and SCR 99 in conjunction with other public school boards of the State and the payment of all reasonable attorney's fees on a pro rata basis. Former long-time superintendent, Dr. Gerald Cobb, was in attendance. He voiced his support for joining the other parishes in the law suit. During his time as superintendent two sales taxes and two property taxes were passed which are still being collected. He strongly feels that it would erode the voters' trust to take money they wanted to be used in the public schools of their parish and give it to non-public schools and possibly even other parishes. A brief period of comments, questions, and discussion ensued.
Upon a motion by Mr. Jones, seconded by Mr. Dowling, the Board voted 11-1 by roll call (with Mr. Hunt casting the dissenting vote) to:
1) Authorize the institution of litigation in federal and/or state court, either individually or as a member of other public school systems with similar purpose, challenging the constitutionality and/or legality of Act 2 of the 2012 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature;
2) Authorize the payment of all reasonable attorney's fees and other costs incurred on a pro rata basis if such litigation is filed in conjunction with other public school boards of the State; and
3) Direct the Superintendent to come back to the Board with a recommendation for legal counsel to handle such litigation on behalf of the Board and to present to the Board at that time for its consideration a special counsel resolution reemploying such attorney for such purpose. There being no further business to come before the Board and upon a motion by Ms. Best, the meeting adjourned at 1:07 p.m.
Danny L. Bell, Secretary
Otha L. Anders, President

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