Jindal to decide on interim school board seat

NEW ORLEANS -- Orleans Parish School Board members easily approved the contract for new superintendent Dr. Henderson Lewis Jr. at Tuesday night's meeting.

But things didn't go as smoothly when it came time to fill the seat that Ira Thomas left empty earlier this month. He resigned after being charged with accepting a $5,000 bribe.

"At this point we don't have someone to fill the district one position," said Seth Bloom, president of the Orleans Parish School Board.

Thirteen people applied for the seat, but Bloom said only nine candidates actually turned in the necessary documents. From thereboard members had to nominate their choices, and only two candidates made it past that process, John Brown Sr., who has been the principal of several schools in the system, and Happy Johnson, a motivational speaker who offered a younger perspective.

But board members split 3-3 over the two candidates in three separate votes. So now the decision is out of the board's hands.

"By law and by board policy, it will now go to the governor to appoint someone, if he does decide to appoint someone. He doesn't have to," Bloom said. "And if that's the case, we can just go about our business until the special election in October."

Bloom said he's not familiar with exactly how the process works, because in his six years on the board, he's never seen it happen.

"It's a very unusual thing to happen," Bloom said.

But just because there is an empty seat, Bloom wants to be clear that children won't fall through the gaps.

"We represent the entire city and the city of New Orleans."


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