By Monday, Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent James Easton will be moved out of the Lafayette Parish School System's central office. The 72-year-old administrator, who has served as the parish's superintendent for more than seven years, is holding his final staff meetings this week and packing up his office in the evenings.
Last week, the Lafayette Parish School Board voted 7-2 to buy out the remaining 18 months of Easton's contract. Board members Mike Hefner and Rickey Hardy voted against the move, calling it fiscally irresponsible. The final cost of the buyout is estimated to be around $282,000, after factoring in Easton's deferred compensation benefits.
Easton agreed to be out of office by July 1, at which point deputy superintendent and Chief Academic Officer Burnell Lemoine will take on the superintendent's duties. At its next board meeting July 18, the board will officially appoint an interim superintendent, likely to be Lemoine.
As deputy superintendent, Lemoine has typically filled in for Easton when he has been away. Lemoine also previously served as interim superintendent in Lafayette prior to Easton's arrival in 2001. From 1986 to 1991, Lemoine was superintendent of the school system in Avoyelles Parish.
The process for selecting Easton's permanent replacement isn't clearly defined. Greg Davis, who heads up the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce's education division, plans to meet with school board President Carl LaCombe this week to discuss plans for selecting a new superintendent. "Whether or not the chamber is involved, whether or not the community is involved, is all up to the school board," Davis says. "That's an open question, and we're curious to find out what the process will be."
LaCombe did not return calls for comment.
Some school board members have recently stated a desire to tap someone from the local area to replace Easton, foregoing any major statewide or national search for candidates. If that's the case, Lemoine would likely be a leading candidate for the post. While the school board's relationship with Easton turned rocky, Lemoine has remained popular with a majority of its members. Throughout a lengthy dispute with Easton over grants administrator Amy Trahan, several board members favored putting Lemoine in charge of the district's Title funding ' a job he oversaw prior to Easton's reorganization of staff in 2005.
While he has previously expressed little interest in the superintendent's job, Lemoine indicated just last week that his thinking may have since changed. "I might [apply]," Lemoine told The Independent Weekly. "I'm going to have to certainly sit down and give that some thought and consider it." He'll meet with LaCombe at the beginning of July to discuss the board's plans for moving forward on an interim basis and beyond. "I'd like to know exactly what [the board] would like to do," he says. "Then I'll make a final decision at that point."
In addition to Lemoine, another potential local candidate whose name is being bandied about is Don Aguillard, superintendent of the St. Mary Parish School System for the past three years. Prior to that, Aguillard served as an area director with the LPSS and is a former principal of Carencro High School.
Easton, meanwhile, might accomplish the feat of collecting severance pay and landing a new job; he's applying for the superintendent's vacancy in St. Landry Parish. "I would like to try and serve as a superintendent one more time," he says. "I like Acadiana; make no mistake about it. If they're interested, I would like to try and make a contribution there." The St. Landry Parish School System is looking to replace Lanny Moreau, its superintendent of the past seven years. Much like Easton's situation in Lafayette, Moreau left after being at odds with several of his board members. Moreau opted to retire on May 31 with six months still remaining on his contract, pre-empting any move by the board to oust him.
Several of the issues between Moreau and the board involved disputes over the school system's 42-year-old desegregation case ' a matter likely to be a priority for its next superintendent. Easton already has experience in that regard. During his tenure as superintendent here, LPSS achieved unitary status in its desegregation case after four decades of federal oversight.
Local and state agents Thursday night raided The Keg, the popular college bar located in the area known as The Strip, leading to the (at least) temporary closure of the venue.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, April 18, 2014:
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Time and time again, the Lafayette Parish School Board shows an overwhelming tendency toward idiocy, but Wednesday night’s contentious discussion over Northside High School’s teen mother program tops the list of dumb discussions.
“The accomplishment of this goal within the next ten years is not only critical for the region to effectively compete with other regions for residents and businesses, but also to provide an amenity for everyone in Acadiana to enjoy.”
Education Superintendent John White says a continued push to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating "a state of chaos" for public school teachers.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to use $210 million in surplus and one-time money to help balance next year's budget received the backing Thursday of the State Bond Commission, support that was needed for the maneuver to work.
State wildlife and fisheries agents have arrested a 39-year-old man accused of stealing crawfish.
An East Feliciana Parish lawmaker has jettisoned his proposal to make it harder for a condemned prisoner to appeal a death sentence.
Senators advanced a proposal Wednesday that would let the governor remove New Orleans-area levee board members for violating what he considers to be public policy, despite concerns it would introduce political meddling into state flood protection.
The Lafayette City-Parish Council on Tuesday will vote on a resolution that if approved would clear the way for a December ballot proposition asking voters to approve a 1-cent sales tax parishwide to help fund the construction of a new terminal at Lafayette Regional Airport.
Just days before the fourth anniversary of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster and oil spill, the Coast Guard has moved cleanup of Louisiana's coast to a new phase, allowing BP to end its "active" efforts in the area.
Legislators still must leave their guns at the door of the Louisiana Capitol.
Sen. Fred Mills may have an "R" behind his name, but his actions in the Louisiana Legislature transcend the established boundaries of his party.
The Louisiana House overwhelmingly rejected a repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law Tuesday.
The Louisiana Senate sided with Gov. Bobby Jindal and the oil industry Tuesday, agreeing to void a lawsuit that a south Louisiana flood board filed against more than 90 oil and gas companies for coastal damage.
Acadian rep notifies would-be supporters that an April 25 fundraiser for the embattled U.S. rep won’t go on as planned.
While it isn’t all too unusual for public bodies to have hired security present during meetings, the LPSB’s push to do so is arguably a response to the antics of one board member.
“I’m running. Why would I be raising all this money? Just to have to return it to people?”
With incumbent U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu watching from afar, and with a united Democratic Party in her corner, the fight to get the GOP officially behind Congressman Bill Cassidy is gaining just as much momentum as it is hushed controversy.
15th Judicial District Judge Durwood Conque has announced that he will not seek re-election after 27 years on the bench.
The controversial standardized tests are set to be used in third-grade through eighth-grade public school classrooms next year.
The Louisiana Senate has agreed to prohibit unmanned aircraft from flying over chemical plants, water treatment systems, telecommunications networks and other items considered "critical infrastructure" in Louisiana.
It didn’t take long for KATC TV 3 to jump all over the news of a dead body found in Girard Park, but in its rush to produce headlines, the local TV station got sloppy.
An unholy trinity of civil-society upheavalers whose first names are not Conner, Tanner or Logan are facing charges in Eunice.