When it comes to the state ed superintendent position, Louisiana is in an unprecedented spot.
The state ed superintendent is supposed to be approved by the state board of ed (BESE) each time a new BESE board is elected– every four years. A two-thirds vote is required to for La. BESE to approve a state ed superintendent– 8 out of 11 votes.
Once approved, the state superintendent must be confirmed by the Louisiana senate.
Even so, White was granted a four-year contract – good until the next BESE election.
The BESE board elected in 2016 did not deliver on the 8 votes necessary to renew White’s contract. Thus, he has been a month-to-month employee since January 2016.
Seven BESE members are ready to renew White’s contract. Not enough. Eight votes needed. So, that seven-member BESE majority has effectively prevented any formal BESE vote on White’s contract.
Frankly, I am not sure why there has not been more resistance from the remaining four BESE members.
A notable issue is that it seems that according to law, White is allowed to remain in his job limbo until the end of the second regular legislative session following term expiration– in this case, June 08, 2017.
Yet BESE remains inert.
Therefore, on May 30, 2017, Louisiana teacher Ganey Arsement filed a lawsuit asking the court for a declaratory judgment— a “conclusive and legally binding” opinion that settles controversies prior to their occurring.
From Arsement’s post on the matter:
Over the last couple of months, I have been in constant contact with both the governor’s office and the senate in regards to the appointment of Superintendent of Education, John White. There is a general agreement that appointive positions are intended to be temporary extensions of the current administration. It isn’t uncommon for someone to be reappointed by an incoming administration; however, in White’s case, that has not been done. Some of the senate staff attorneys have differing opinions about how and when appointments should terminate. In order to resolve the matter, we have solicited the courts for clarity. On Tuesday, May 30th, a motion for declaratory judgment was filed in the 19th Judicial District of East Baton Rouge Parish. With myself listed as the primary plaintiff, fourteen other plaintiffs from across the state have joined me in asking the courts to declare the process and intent of the law. The intent is to establish a guideline for both BESE and the Louisiana Senate to take action.
If you have been following my blogs over the last couple of months, you know that an important deadline is fast approaching. In summary, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education (BESE) is tasked with appointing a superintendent of education with a 2/3 majority vote. The appointment, and subsequent contract, can’t extend past the appointing authority’s term of election. Our current superintendent of education, John White, was appointed by the previous BESE board, and his appointive term ended on January 12, 2016.
As per his contract, and Louisiana law, White is permitted to continue in that capacity until BESE appoints a new superintendent. As per Revised Statute 24:14, if an appointing authority fails to appoint and submit an appointee to the senate for confirmation, the current appointee may continue to serve until the last day of the second regular session following the expiration of the appointed term. At that time, the position is considered vacant. Per the law, BESE has until June 8th to appoint and submit for confirmation, or the superintendent of education position is considered vacant.
I have written a couple of posts about White’s quietly filing for Louisiana administrative credentials to allow him to potentially slide into a local superintendent position in Louisiana should he lose his state super’s seat. The problem here is that White has falsified his credentials– in short, he needs five years of classroom teaching experience in his area of certification to have the admin credential to be a local superintendent. However, White has only taught for three years. He and BESE member James Garvey fudged an additional two years. Read about it in these two posts. (The latter post includes pics of his actual fudged application.)
Arsement’s declaratory lawsuit has made national headlines via the Associated Press: US News, Washington Times, McClatchy DC Bureau. And well it should. But what will really matter here is not the AP publicizing of the issue but the outcome of the declaratory judgment, which I look forward to reading.
Originally posted 05-30-17 at deutsch29.wordpress.com.
Want to read about the history of charter schools and vouchers?
Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.