LAFAYETTE — The search for the parish’s next school superintendent could cost as much as $10,000, which doesn’t include travel expenses, Billy Guidry, chief financial officer for the school system, told School Board members Wednesday.
The board was told at the meeting it could cost as much as $6,000 to publish the job announcement in state newspapers and in national online and print publications.
The board did not set aside any funds for a search in its recent budget with the understanding that it could dip into its contingency funds, which total $100,000, Guidry said.
The $10,000 estimate could be revised, depending on future needs, including travel expenses for candidates. Board President Mark Allen Babineaux has expressed interest in the possibility of board members traveling to visit the finalists’ districts.
The board voted 8-1 to accept a search timeline, advertisement costs and position qualifications. Board member Shelton Cobb was the only board member voting against the measure.
The board still has to work out details of reviewing applications, and the interview and selection processes.
In a 5-4 vote, the board decided to have the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Human Resources Department vet applicants’ qualifications, rather than having both ULL and the school system’s Human Resources Department review applications.
Board members Hunter Beasley, Mark Cockerham, Kermit Bouillion, Shelton Cobb and Tehmi Chassion approved the motion. Voting against it were: Greg Awbrey, Babineaux, Rae Trahan and Tommy Angelle.
The proposed timeline assures that the public will have a voice in the search process, but just how much say was debated by board members Wednesday.
Board member Beasley requested that representatives of at least two community organizations serve on an interview committee and make recommendations on who should advance in the selection process.
Babineaux said he plans to request a legal opinion on whether Beasley’s request strips the board of its authority to select the superintendent.
The two board members serve on the search selection committee along with Angelle
Beasley restated his position that the board accepts recommendations from advisory boards and committees “on a daily basis … but we make the final decision.”
Local attorney Gary McGoffin said he supports public seats on the interview committee and told the board, “I would see no legal impediment.”
He also questioned whether the interviews would be open to the public or held in executive session.
“They never have been (closed),” said Angela Simoneaux, Lafayette Parish Schools student and marketing coordinator.
No decisions on interview committee participation were made Wednesday.
Prior to the vote on the timeline, Bouillion cautioned members not to rush the process, and said they face a “big undertaking in not hiring an outside firm.”
“We don’t want to realize come January that we made a mistake. … Let’s be very careful in how we do this,” Bouillion said. “We definitely need public support. We’re trying to get a millage passed. If we send any indication to the public that we’re not being transparent, it’s not the (right) signal to send to the public right now.”
Voters will decide on Oct. 22 whether to approve a $561 million bond issue to fund its facilities’ master plan and a separate 2-mills tax dedicated to maintenance.
To view the search timeline, visit: http://esb.lpssonline.com.