The Lafayette Parish School Board took its first action Wednesday night toward the search for a new superintendent, opting not to hire an outside search firm to assist the board in finding a replacement for outgoing Superintendent Burnell Lemoine.
After muddled discussion and an off-road, contentious speech from Board Member Tommy Angelle, the board voted to form a search committee that will report back to the full board with recommendations on search criteria and advertising strategies for hiring the new top education official in the parish.
How large the committee will be and who from the School Board will serve on the committee has yet to be determined. Board Member Tehmi Chassion suggested that Hunter Beasley, District 8 board member, chair the committee and hammer out details on how the committee will be formed. Beasley, a UL Lafayette faculty member with a master's in education, has been part of numerous search committees through his day job and has an extensive education background.
But Angelle, backed by five other board members, balked at the idea, and the board eventually voted to have Board President Mark Allen Babineaux appoint three School Board members to serve on the search committee. Conceivably, the committee will also include community stakeholders from outside the school system, though how many and who those will be are not yet clear.
For Angelle, a search for a new superintendent isn't necessary because in his mind, there's a new "caucus" of board members who are conspiring against the system and already have a new superintendent in place.
Angelle was referring to a recent phone conversation he had with Board Member Kermit Bouillion over whether to extend Lemoine's contract another six months. Apparently, Bouillion called Angelle before the vote was scheduled to inform him there were five board members, Bouillion included, who would not vote to extend Lemoine's contract.
" 'There's five of us, and four of you' is what [Bouillion] told me," Angelle said during the meeting. "He caucused five board members. If I had caucused members of the school board, the organizations that didn't want to see me in this seat would have scoured the streets of Carencro ...
"In that conversation, there was one name that came up for superintendent," Angelle continued. "So there might already be a superintendent in place — and we might not have any say so."
In his quick comeback, Bouillion said he "asked the opinions of my friends, my colleagues," as he does on any issue coming before the school board. Most government bodies, he argued, already have a good idea of how the vote's going to go before it takes place.
For the record, we don't yet have a new superintendent. Lemoine has another seven and a half months to serve. And for those bitterly outside the imaginary loop, we'll keep you posted.
JUNE 19 Former Saint Steve Gleason, who is paralyzed by ALS, released a statement Tuesday in response to the Atlanta radio station's skit making fun of him and the disease, this Picayune post reports. What did he say? He said he'd accepted the apology of the DJs who did it, notes that at least the incident has got people talking about ALS, and asks anyone who is burning to take action about it to do so -- by helping him fight ALS.
JUNE 19 Blogger Ian McGibboney takes a look at the Gleason incident in this post. He makes a good argument about the difference between having free speech and being free from consequences for your speech (which none of us is). He also admits that many of us got upset before we listened to the skit -- but lets us know that the reality is far worse than we can imagine. It was the incredibly bad judgment, even more than the actual speech, that probably got those DJs fired, he opines.
JUNE 19 Washington Post blogger Aaron Blake writes about Sen. Guillory's switch to the GOP in this post. He writes what most political watchers in Louisiana know: Guillory was a Republican before he decided to run for the senate seat in a mostly-D St. Landry district, and has switched back now that he plans to run for Lt. Gov. in a mostly-R state. But how come Blake missed Guillory's appearance on a TLC pageant show? Now that is a video we'd like to see. (Again).
JUNE 19 Here's another Washington Post blog post about a Louisiana politician, and it's just plain scathing. Ezra Klein says Jindal's Politico post was "insulting" to the intelligence of voters, and adds that Jindal is personifying the "stupid" he's railed against, by being an "elite" who convinces GOP activists of "things that aren't true." Me-ow.
JUNE 19 Here's Gov. Jindal's post in Politico, in which he asks the GOP to get over losing to Obama (again) and stop "the bedwetting." (Uh, what?) He gives his Republican buddies what is probably a nerd's idea of a coach's motivational talk, which starts with a list of accomplishments that they can't seem to exploit and ending with an absurd description of liberals that sounds like a character treatment for a Fox "News" movie scripted by Gordon Liddy. Sure, he's preaching to the choir, but even the choir's not this gullible.
JUNE 19 Lamar Parmentel read Gov. Jindal's post on Politico, but thinks it was so dumb it probably was published in the wrong paper. This post by Lamar on the Daily Kingfish opines that possibly Jindal's post was destined for the Onion -- because the governor couldn't possibly be serious here. If you listen closely, you can hear the staff of the Kingfish giggling.
JUNE 19 Blogger Robert Mann posts from Turkey, a country he has visited several times in the past few years. Mann gives an interesting overview of the current political and societal climate of the country, which -- if you're living under a rock and don't know -- is experiencing protests and turmoil these days. Mann promises to post as much as he can during his trip, which should be fascinating reading.
JUNE 19 Blogger CB Forgotston says the legislature is keeping the vicious cycle going with its funding of new buildings for the community college/technical college system. Universities across the state need maintenance and improvement on existing buildings, and the solution is to build new buildings at other schools? By the time the bonds are paid off, those buildings will be falling down, too, CB says.
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to offer shares of its stock to the public for the first time.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.