House bill aimed at LHSAA deferred

A week after saying the plan was to move forward with a bill that would prohibit Louisiana’s public schools from belonging to an organization that discriminated against schools based on their enrollment policies, the State Legislature reversed field.

Wednesday’s House Education Committee meeting opened with Rep. Bob Hensgens, R-Abbeville, deferring House Bill 267, which takes it out of consideration for the 2013 session. Another one of the bill’s authors, Rep Wesley Bishop, D-New Orleans, a member of the education committee, said he agreed with the decision.

“Nobody on our side had to speak,” LHSAA Executive Director Kenny Henderson said. “Rep. Hensgens noted that we’re working on some things. It seems like they (legislators) want to give the principals a chance to work things out for themselves.

“And to be honest with you, we feel like that’s the best option. This is a principals’ organization, and the principals should have a chance to try and resolve this.”

HB 267 was filed after LHSAA principals voted in January to split its football championships into separate divisions for nonselect (traditional public schools) and select (private, charter, magnet, laboratory and dual curriculum schools) starting this fall. Select schools were deemed to be those who can choose their enrollment.

Last week, the LHSAA’s school relations committee met for parts of two days and came up with a list of 11 items aimed at alleviating tensions between the select and nonselect groups. The group agreed the implentation of the split plan known as Article 18 should not be delayed because it was approved by a large majority of member principals.

The SRC is made up of public and private school administrators and will meet at least once more before its recommendations are brought before the LHSAA’s executive committee at its summer meeting June 5, Henderson said.

Many of the SRC’s recommendations are slated to go before the LHSAA membership in January 2014.