Last Modified: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 7:22 PM
The old quip suggests that a man who represents himself on legal issues has a fool for a client.
The same might be said for a client that ignores sound legal advice from respected counsel.
That’s just what the Calcasieu Parish School Board did last week when it denied in a 12-3 vote a request by the Lake Charles Charter Academy Foundation to enter into an agreement that would have the Calcasieu Parish School System providing bus transportation for students to attend the charter school.
The board’s legal counsel, Greg Belfour, said a precedent had been set when the Avoyelles Parish School Board faced a similar request. He said the courts ruled that the school district must enter into the agreement, but that the charter school must pay the cost of the transportation.
However, School Superintendent Wayne Savoy said he did not have enough information on the costs and potential bus routes and recommended the board reject the agreement.
School Board member Joe Andrepont who voted against the agreement said that the Calcasieu School System is already hard-pressed to hire enough drivers and substitute drivers and maintain a large enough fleet to handle the system’s needs.
Those are legitimate concerns.
The problem, though, is the law isn’t an ally of the School Board.
Ironically, Third Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Ulysses ‘‘Gene’’ Thibodeaux served on a three-judge panel that held in 2005 that the Avoyelles Parish must pay for the transportation of students to a charter school in the parish, a ruling that was later upheld by the Louisiana State Supreme Court.
That’s the same Gene Thibodeaux that is president of the Lake Charles Charter Academy.
The Charter Academy Foundation’s attorney James Spruell, who formerly served as the School Board’s counsel, hinted that his clients may sue the School Board to ensure it complies with the law.
We hope it doesn’t come to that, primarily because the School Board would be using precious taxpayer money to litigate a decision it has little chance of winning.
The School Board denied the Charter Academy’s applications three times — ultimately the application was approved by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. Now the School Board is at odds with the Academy over the transportation issue.
Savoy and School Board members have every right to complain that the Charter School Academy is playing by a different set of rules than the public school system.
But their obstinance also could be interpreted that they fear competing against the fledgling Lake Charles Charter Academy.
If that’s the case, it’s time for a serious overhaul at the Calcasieu Parish School System’s central office. This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney,
Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.
This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Ken Stickney, Jim Beam, Dennis Spears, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.
Posted By: John Q. Taxpayer On: 7/18/2012
This sounds like yet another example of an unfunded mandate brought to us by the geniuses in the legislature. Here's an idea - in the future, instead of scribbling a bill on a napkin and ramming it through the legislative process, do a little research into the possible consequences.
Posted By: JL Mac On: 7/18/2012
Title: Strong Arming; Surely Not
SO what this article appears to say, in some subliminal fashion is that Judge Thibodeaux, who "served on a three-judge panel in 2005"--and who is head over the Lake Charles area charter school system, is going to use his legalistic "strong arm powers" to force Calcasieu Parish into whatever he wants, right?
Let's get real and forget the legal side of things for just a second; and focus istead on the fact that so far everything which has been denied for the charter school system by Calcasieu Parish, has been approved by the state. Hmmmmm....maybe there's something here afterall. Could it be politics? Surely not.
One things for sure though; the actions by the Calcasieu Parish School Board Superintendent on this matter reflect his continued incompetence.