School

Sheri Morris Gives Notice to Central School Board

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By Dave Freneaux

After negotiating a settlement for Zachary Community School System which led to its separation from the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, in 2004 attorney Sheri Morris began working with a group of Central citizens to create the Central Community School System and the City of Central.  At the time both the City and School System were no more than ideas and there was no money to pay an attorney.  Ms. Morris and her law firm agreed to take on the incorporation project with the promise of payment after incorporation and later the project for the school system on similar terms, knowing that if the incorporation failed and if the legislation failed would be no client to pay the bill.  On Thursday morning, citing personal reasons, Ms. Morris gave notice of her intent to resign as General Counsel for the School System and offered to continue to be available to work on matters that she has already begun to make the transition of legal services smooth.  In an interview Tuesday Ms. Morris indicated that she and her firm have enjoyed working for the school system and would like to continue providing legal services on an as needed basis.
 
In Tuesday's interview Ms. Morris shared that when Marty Guilbeau visited her office to see if she would help with creating a school system in Central, she told him that after Baker and Zachary began operating school systems, it was unlikely that the East Baton Rouge School System would stand by and watch another separation. She also advised Guilbeau of the tremendous volunteer effort and costs associated with to getting the Zachary and Baker schools to the point of operating schools and encouraged Guilbeau to try to negotiate with EBR. When Mr. Guilbeau returned to her office to report that his attempt to negotiate with EBR was unsuccessful and that he was confident that the support of the Central community could overcome these hurdles she agreed to help.  After seeing the success of the Zachary System, Morris believed that the incorporation and creation of a community school system would improve educational opportunities in Central.  To say that Ms. Morris became personally committed to Central would be an understatement.  Working with no guarantee of payment, she and her law firm spent many hours studying records, researching issues and guiding a group of volunteers led by Russell Starns and Marty Guilbeau from their ideas, to a plan, to a pieces of paper which would authorize the creation of a city and of a school board, to battles before the legislature, to battles before the courts with EBR school board.  Newspapers, politicians and even people in her community in south Baton Rouge predicted the efforts of the Central citizens to create a school system would fail and many asked her  to discontinue working for Central's incorporation and independent School System.  She shared that although on occasions she and her family were approached in public by strangers and people she respected who criticized her for assisting Central's efforts, she never considered giving up on the project. Ms. Morris knew that the creation of a City and School System was the only way to improve public education in the Central community.
 
It is not possible to credit the creation of the City of Central or the Central Community School System to any one of the dozens of people who involved themselves from the beginning, or even to all of the volunteers who rallied the support for the elections and pitched in to repair and paint schools and continue to volunteer to this day.  It is clear however, that Sheri Morris played an important role in helping to make Central's School System a reality.  On behalf of so many here in the Central community, thank you Ms. Morris for your dedication to our cause.

9 Comments

  1. Keith Holmes

    March 30, 2011 at 9:34 am

    We will truly miss Sheri. She has been one of those consistant forces behind our success for the last five years. We can never repay the debt that we owe for the sacrifices of her time and energy. May God Bless you Sheri.

    With Sincerest Thanks
    The Citizens of Central

  2. Denise Giles

    March 30, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Thank you Sheri! Keith expressed my sentiments exactly!

  3. Mike Mannino

    March 30, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    I’m asking a legitimate questions here so please hold you negative comments.

    Was there any reason given for the resignation ?

    Ms Morris has contributed greatly to Central and her experience in these cases helped tremendously.

  4. Another Central resident

    March 30, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    School Board informed Ms. Morris that request for proposals would be put on the street for legal services. Ms. Morris decided to step down but agreed to help out on an as need basis.

    This came directly from a school board member.

    • dave

      March 30, 2011 at 12:45 pm

      From what school board member? How did the School Board inform Ms. Morris that an RFP would be put on the street?

  5. Mike Mannino

    March 30, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    Resident,
    Thanks. That begs another question though. Why is the board putting out RFQ ?

  6. Another Central resident

    March 30, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Mike,

    I would suggest you call your local or any school board representative and ask them. My representative answered my question quickly once I heard that Ms. Morris had resigned. I wanted to know the reason of her resigning with her past issues with the city council.

  7. Lee Rome

    March 30, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Having been in at “the beginning” I know how much Sherry did for the Central Community and the Central School System. I THANK her very much. I do not know the reasons behind all of this, but where would we be if not for Sherry and all of the people who worked so hard to make our dreams a reality??

  8. Ray

    March 30, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    Thank you Ms. Morris for your service to our community!

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