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Local schools join lawsuit against the state

Local schools join lawsuit against the state

The Louisiana Department of Education owes Lafourche and Terrebonne school districts millions of dollars, according to a class action lawsuit.

According to the Daily Comet, both districts' school boards voted to join St. John the Baptist Parish School District and 16 others around the state in a suit against the Department of Education, claiming that the state owes the districts money promised under the state's per-pupil school-aid formula for fiscal 2012-2013.

The lawsuit seeks $200 million more in school funding than the state is providing, citing a ruling by the Louisiana Supreme Court this year that invalidated the formula used to determine how money much school districts are given.

According to the suit, Lafourche Parish School District is owed $1.4 million while Terrebonne Parish would be owed several million.

Before 2009 the state Department of Education budget gave each district a 2.75 percent funding increase every year, half of which had to be dedicated to teachers salaries and the other half of which could be used for other district expenses.

That 2.75 annual raise was scratched from the state's education budget in 2009-2010, when the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education adopted new school aid guidelines.

Earlier this year, the Louisiana Supreme Court rejected the formulas being used to determine how much money each district receives, known as the Minimum Foundation Program, over changes to how special education and gifted students were affected under the formula.

The lawsuit only seeks to the recover the 2.75 percent increase that would have applied to the 2012-2013 school year.