Unofficial results indicate the millage failed by 260 votes Tuesday, November 4. The count was 4,015 (51.67 percent) against the millage and 3,755 (48.33 percent) for the millage.
Voters will learn Ville Platte High’s fate soon; a hearing has been set for Monday, November 17, and the likely anticipated result by many will be the closure of the high school. A hearing has been set in U.S. Magistrate Tucker Melancon’s courtroom. Both sides will have an opportunity to argue their cases and present evidence.
Board attorney for the desegregation case, Robert “Bob” Hammonds, explained the litigation process to The Gazette. He said he will be arguing the board has made substantial improvements to Ville Platte High. He said they have spent hundreds of thousand dollars more than they were required to spend on improvements.
He also said the school board has presented a plan to the courts in case the courts do shut down the high school. They want to split students attending Ville Platte High and send them to Mamou High and Pine Prairie. The United States Justice Department’s plan is to send Ville Platte High students to Pine Prairie, making it a ninth through 12 grade school. All kindergarten to fourth graders would attend Vidrine Elementary, and all fifth to eighth graders attending Vidrine would attend Ville Platte High, which would become a junior high school.
Hammonds said it will be up to the courts to decide if the school is shut down and which plan of dispersing students will be used. However, he intends to argue to keep the school open.
“No decision has been made in this case,” Hammonds reminded residents. “It will be up to the courts. The school board intends to vigorously oppose the justice department.”