The Lafayette Parish School Board will soon begin contract negotiations with a goal of securing a mid-May start date for its unanimous choice for the superintendent job, board President Tommy Angelle said Thursday.

The board chose former Lafayette Parish administrator and current St. Mary Parish Schools Superintendent Donald Aguillard for the job after interviewing him and Francis Touchet Jr., of Abbeville.

Aguillard has worked the past 11 years as superintendent in St. Mary Parish and said he had already informed the board there, before the Lafayette opening arose, that he planned to leave after 12 years.

As a result, he told Lafayette board members Wednesday, the St. Mary Parish School Board already has taken steps to prepare for its own superintendent search. He added that the St. Mary board is prepared to move up its own search plans and also has an interim superintendent in mind to replace him.

“As far as I’m concerned, the sooner he comes, the better,” Angelle said. “I’m saying that primarily for budget meetings because I’d like for him to be involved in the budget.”

Aguillard indicated to the board Wednesday evening that if he was selected, he’d like to sit in on board meetings and upcoming budget meetings to have a voice in the decisions that will impact his abilities as the district’s future leader.

Angelle said Thursday he’s asked the board’s attorney, Bob Hammonds, to submit examples of contracts from other school districts for the board to review.

The board also will consider contracts of prior Lafayette superintendents in the development of terms for Aguillard’s employment, Angelle said.

He said the board also must consider the goals and objectives they’d like Aguillard to focus on during his employment.

This is the first search in Lafayette Parish since 2011, when the board selected Pat Cooper as its choice for superintendent. Aguillard was one of three finalists for the job but withdrew his name, and another candidate was interviewed in his place.

Cooper negotiated a four-year contract with a $190,000 annual salary and benefits that included annual payment estimated at $10,000 for insurance for himself and a dependent. Cooper’s employment ended in November following the then-board’s 7-2 vote to terminate his employment. Cooper’s challenge of that decision is pending in state district court.

Following Cooper’s termination in November, the board appointed former career and technical education director Burnell LeJeune as interim superintendent and boosted his pay by $50,000 to $150,000.

At the time he signed his contract, Cooper’s salary placed him as the fifth highest-paid superintendent in the state. In the 2013-14 school year, his salary of $190,000 made him the eighth highest-paid superintendent.

Aguillard, with a salary of $187,397 in St. Mary Parish, was the ninth highest-paid superintendent in the state, based on the most recent statewide superintendent salary data available from the Louisiana Department of Education.

Aguillard’s most recent, three-year contract with the St. Mary Parish School Board outlines a $171,500 annual salary, exclusive of his Professional Improvement Program compensation and a $1,200 monthly supplement. The contract also includes options for raises when teachers are awarded a state raise and a $500 increase if the board authorizes step increases for district employees.

Aguillard shared his most recent salary information upon The Acadiana Advocate’s request. In an email response, he said his 2014-15 pay is $187,897: $172,000 salary, plus $1,497 in PIPS compensation, and a total of $14,400 from $1,200 monthly stipends.

Other benefits included in Aguillard’s current contract include $400 to maintain the existing life insurance policy and mileage reimbursement for official out-of-state travel.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.