THE Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that an estimated7,000 teachers and school employees were wrongfully terminated post Hurricane Katrina.
Teachers ﬁled suit against the Orleans Parish School Board and the Louisiana Department of Education after they lost their jobs post-Katrina and then were not given the ﬁrst notice new job opportunities that arose once schools began reopening.
As a result, all tenured employees who were ﬁred after Katrina will be paid two years’ salary by the Orleans Parish School Board. Teachers who meet certain criteria will
also be paid an additional year’s salary by the state of Louisiana.
The ruling, passed down by judges James McKay III, Edwin Lombard, Paul Bonin, Daniel Dysart,and Roland Belsome, said it was fair for the School Board to reduce the workforce post-Katrina. However, the teachers had a constitutionally protected right to be recalled to work as soon as opportunities arose for them to do so. The School Board was legally required to create a “recall list” of teachers who were available to return
and failed to do this. This list should have been used to rehire teachers and staff to ﬁll any openings over the next two years.
The ruling applies to all employees who had tenure on August 29, 2005. That list includes principals, teachers, paraprofessionals, ofﬁ ceadministrators, secretaries,
social workers, and other support staff.
Both the school board and the state can ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to review the ruling.