New Orleans Public School Employees Case Finally Goes to Court

Wrongful Termination Lawsuit Heard After Five Years

Originally posted in the summer 2011 edition of The Leader

Nearly 7,500 New Orleans Public School Employees (NOPSE) and PANOPSI members have been embroiled in a wrongful-termination lawsuit for more than five years against the Louisiana State Department of Education, the Recovery School District, and the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Three weeks after Hurricane Katrina, the state decided to overhaul the education system and terminated nearly 7,500 public school employees in New Orleans. Willie Zanders, Esq., is the lead attorney in the case, and the lawsuit finally went to court in May 2011, more than five years after it was filed.

The trail phase of the case was completed on June 23. One of the educational experts for NOPSE still needs to give testimony, and the court reporter is compiling a written transcript of all of the testimonies. Additionally, the attorneys for both sides have the opportunity to submit written briefs.

The judge most likely will issue her decision sometime after August after the attorneys have presented their briefs.

“We are fortunate to have had strong and dedicated colleagues to take the stand and represent each of us,” said Florida Woods, executive director of the Professional Administrators of New Orleans Public Schools Inc., AFSA Local 17 (PANOPSI).

After all this time, PANOPSI and NOPSE employees have not given up their fight to reclaim the livelihoods that so wrongfully were stripped from them. Their inspiring story and updates of the case can be found at