News in Brief: A National Roundup
New Orleans District Sued Over Budget Changes
A civil lawsuit is alleging that New Orleans Superintendent Anthony S. Amato illegally changed the district’s budget after it was approved.
The plaintiffs in the case, parents of New Orleans students, filed the complaint in state court after learning that Mr. Amato had submitted a district spending plan to state officials that included revisions the school board hadn’t approved.
A lawyer for the plaintiffs contended that some of the changes involved extra money for administrators’ salaries, while students in some schools in the 80,000-student district lack books.
Civil District Court Judge Madeleine Landrieu initially issued a restraining order barring the district from making expenditures not in the board-approved budget. But she lifted that order on Nov. 3 and scheduled a hearing in the case for the end of this month.
Pat Bowers, a spokeswoman for the district, said last week that many of the changes were corrections, that they didn’t alter the budget’s bottom line, and that the superintendent had the authority to make them.
A state law passed in June shifted significant decisionmaking power from the school board to Mr. Amato. ("State Law Tips Power Toward New Orleans Schools Chief," June 23, 2004.)
Vol. 24, Issue 11, Page 4