Decision to break Ory lottery system comes under fire

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 10, 2007

Board admits allowing in minority student, votes to add majority student to highly-sought after school


Staff Reporter

RESERVE – A heated debate erupted at the St. John Parish School Board meeting this past Thursday when life-long Reserve resident E. J. Lasseigne addressed the Board about neglecting the government’s &#8220Lottery System” of public school enrollment. At the Aug. 16 meeting, the Board waived policy in order to admit a minority student into John L. Ory Magnet Elementary.

&#8220I want someone to explain to me why it was necessary to change the lottery system that has been in place for 10 years and was working well,” said Lasseigne.

Lasseigne felt that an injustice was done to his granddaughter, a majority student, because she was at the top of the admission list and was not admitted, while the Board made a decision at the last meeting to override the &#8220Lottery System” and allowed a minority student to be admitted into the school.

&#8220It should not have not have been done,” said Board Member Dowie Gendron. &#8220We should have followed the guidelines that we set up when this school [John L. Ory] was created.”

Board Member Russ Wise proposed a motion that was passed to waive policy in order to admit Lasseigne’s granddaughter into John L. Ory.

&#8220We bent the rules. What I am proposing is that we bend them back,” said Wise. &#8220What I’m trying to do is correct an injustice that we did last week to this man [Lasseigne].”

After a lot of arguing between board members and attendees, the motion to admit Brittany Lasseigne into John L. Ory was passed by a six to two vote. Russell Jack, Phillip Johnson and Lowell Bacas abstained from the vote.

Among other business, McPhearson & Jacobson L.L.C. presented a plan to seek out a new Superintendent to succeed current Superintendent Michael Coburn whose contract expires next summer.

The company prides itself on allowing the School Board to stay in control and make their own decision on who should be the next superintendent.

Also, Dr. Grant from the Department of Education educated the Board on the &#8220Louisiana Virtual School.” &#8220Virtual School” is an online, educational site that allows students to take high school courses from foreign language to math and sciences and also offers advanced placement classes all from their own homes. However, parents are not allowed to enroll their children into the program. The students have to be enrolled by their school.