Rapides Parish School Board

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Rapides Parish School Board office in downtown Alexandria, Louisiana
Bolton High School in Alexandria is an entity of the Rapides Parish School Board and named for the late philanthropist-banker James W. Bolton.

The Rapides Parish School Board (RPSB) is a school district headquartered in Alexandria, Louisiana, United States. It serves Rapides Parish.

Rapides Parish school district consist of mainly elementary schools with most in the city and some in rural areas. There are about 24,000 children that attend schools in the district.

George Washington Bolton, founder of the Bolton family dynasty, was an early member of the RPSB. So was his son, James W. Bolton, for whom Bolton High School is named.

In 1969, the school board was sued for failure to desegregate its public schools under federal court orders. Filed by chief plaintiff Virgie Lee Valley, the suit noted that half of the schools in Wards 1 and 8 were still predominantly African-American. The plaintiffs sought a greater degree of racial integration than then required by federal courts. Until he left office in 1984, Rapides Parish District Attorney Ed Ware represented the board in the desegregation litigation.[1] The suit continued to be litigated periodically under the purview of Judge Nauman Scott of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. In 2006, Judge Dee D. Drell declared the Rapides Parish schools racially unitary and finally closed the long-term litigation.[2]

In 2016, Patricia E. Powell (born August 1952),[3] a former teacher at Tioga Elementary School, won a judgment of $1,147,732, plus interest and court costs against the Rapides Parish School Board on grounds that her 2001 dismissal was unjust retaliation for published comments that she had made about a former short-term superintendent, Betty Cox. Judge Thomas Yeager of the Louisiana 9th Judicial District Court said that Powell was not afforded "a hearing at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner" and was "the victim of political retaliation." Powell was fired under former Superintendent Patsy Jenkins. None of the school board members at the time are still serving. One of Powell's attorneys, Mildred Methvin, an Alexandria native, is an alternative dispute resolution mediator from Lafayette. In 2003, Powell wrote a book about her experiences with the school board.[4]

Former State Representatives Israel "Bo" Curtis and Herbert B. Dixon, both African Americans, were elected members of the school board prior to their respective tenures in the state legislature.

Gary Lee Jones, the superintendent from 2003 to 2012, is a member of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, effective January 2016.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Virgie Lee Valley, et al. v. Rapides Parish School Board, et al.". leagle.com. March 6, 1970. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  2. ^ Mandy M. Goodnight (September 28, 2006). "School milestone called "great day" for Rapides Parish". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Patricia Powell, August 1952". Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  4. ^ Melissa Gregory (September 27, 2016). "Fired Rapides teacher wins $1M+ judgment against board". The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved February 20, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Results for Election Date: 10/24/2015". Louisiana Secretary of State. Retrieved October 29, 2015. 

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