United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division
MONROE CITY SCHOOL BOARD
L. HAYES, MAG. JUDGE
G. JAMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 25, 2017, Plaintiff Tab-N-Action, Inc., d/b/a
Excellence Academy (hereinafter “Excellence
Academy”) filed a verified Complaint seeking
declaratory and injunctive relief against the Monroe City
School Board (“MCSB”). [Doc. No. 1]. Excellence
Academy moves the Court for a preliminary injunction
“prohibiting [MCSB] from revoking [Excellence
Academy's] charter without compliance with La. Admin.
Code[, Title] 28[, Part] CXXXIX [§] 1703” and a
declaratory judgment that Excellence Academy “has
complied with its obligations under the charter contract with
the [MCSB] and the requirements of Louisiana statutes and
regulations.” [Doc. No. 1, ¶¶ 24 & 28].
17, 2017, Excellence Academy filed a Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order (“Motion for TRO”) [Doc. No. 6]
contending that MCSB should be prohibited “from
executing its plan or taking any action to close Excellence
Academy before there has been notice and an opportunity for
hearing on [MCSB's] decision to discontinue funding
Excellence Academy in violation of the contract . . . and the
constitutional requirement of due process . . . .” MCSB
filed a memorandum in opposition to Excellence Academy's
Motion for TRO and motion for preliminary injunction. [Doc.
Academy filed a supplemental memorandum. [Doc. No. 10].
23, 2017, the Court conducted an evidentiary hearing, hearing
testimony from the parties' witnesses, received evidence,
and heard oral argument from counsel.
consideration of the entire record presented, for the
following reasons, Excellence Academy's request for
preliminary injunctive relief is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED
IN PART, and its Motion for TRO is DENIED AS MOOT.
FINDINGS OF FACT
Court finds the following facts to be established.
Tab-N-Action, Inc., operates a Type 1 charter school in
Monroe, Louisiana, under the name Excellence Academy. Type 1
charter schools are authorized by the local school board,
which, in this case, is MCSB.
Academy is a middle school serving grades 6-8 and began
operation in the 2013-2014 school year.
contracted with TenSquare, LLC
(“TenSquare”) in January 2017 to conduct a charter
contract extension review of Excellence Academy as provided
for under Louisiana Revised Statutes §§
17:3992(A)(1) and 17:3998 and Louisiana Administrative Code
§§ 1301 and 1303.
about February 14, 2017, TenSquare representatives, Kathleen
Padian and Sarah Morgan Ripski, visited Excellence Academy,
met with the principal, toured the school, and observed in
the classrooms. The reviewers attempted to attend a Board
meeting the day before touring the school, but the meeting
was cancelled. They were also unable to meet with the
Executive Director, Roosevelt Wright (“Wright”).
According to Wright, he was in the building, but not present
because they arrived earlier than anticipated, and they
declined the principal's offer to contact him.
April 5, 2017, TenSquare prepared a report to the MCSB,
recommending that its contract with Excellence Academy not be
extended for a fifth year based on its determination that the
school was unsatisfactory in certain areas.
April 6, 2017, Dr. Brent Vidrine, Monroe City Superintendent,
sent a letter to Regina Millican at Excellence Academy,
notifying her the results of TenSquare's evaluation
“may” be on the agenda for the MCSB meeting on
April 11, 2017. [Exhibit P-3]. An official copy of the
TenSquare report was not provided to the school until the day
before the meeting, although a MCSB member had given the
school a copy a day or two earlier. Excellence Academy
Representatives Wright, Chairman/President Charter School
Board of Directors Robert Tanzie, Robert Wright, Jackie
Johnson, and the school's accountant/bookkeeper, Rosie
Harper, were all present at the meeting. When this item was
presented on the agenda, MCSB went into Executive Session.
After the members returned, they voted 5-2 not to extend the
charter for the fifth year.
representatives were not invited to speak or asked to respond
to the report, either before or after the Executive Session.
All members of the public can speak on items on the agenda,
but they must sign a list. Each person who signs the list has
3 minutes to speak on the agenda item. None of the Excellence
Academy representatives signed the list and, therefore, were
not permitted to speak.
April 24, 2017 letter to Dr. Vidrine, Wright addressed
Excellence Academy's disappointment and dissatisfaction
with MCSB's reliance on the TenSquare report without
allowing the school representatives to respond and provided a
copy of the report with the school's response to each
area of concern. The parties dispute whether Ten Square used
the proper rubric for its evaluation of the
school. However, Dr. Vidrine and/or
declined to reconsider, and no hearing was held to allow
Excellence Academy to present evidence of its compliance with
the charter agreements and state requirements.
MCSB declined to extend Excellence Academy's charter, Dr.
Vidrine sent a letter to the parents of Excellence Academy
students stating that the school is closing and that they
need to make other arrangements by June 30,
2017. [Exhibit P-7].
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Court makes the following conclusions of law.
determining whether to grant or deny a preliminary
injunction, the Court applies a four-part test:
(1) a substantial likelihood that plaintiff will prevail on
(2) a substantial threat that plaintiff will suffer
irreparable injury if the ...