LAFAYETTE — In a 6-2 vote Wednesday, the Lafayette Parish School Board delayed appointing a displaced administrator as the first principal of the Early College Academy and requested the job be open to applicants.
“I feel a principal of a four-star high school should be announced,” board member Greg Awbrey said. “To simply assign because there’s an opening, I think it’s the wrong thing to do for (the) high school.”
The administrator, Ken Douet, was the principal of N.P. Moss Middle School, which was closed in May because of consistently low performance scores. Douet and at least 19 teachers were displaced by the closure.
Staff followed board policy for displaced employees in offering Douet the available principal spot at ECA, Deputy Superintendent Lawrence Lilly said Wednesday.
In July, the board approved the renewal of Douet’s contract, which expires in July 2012.
If he’s placed in a “lower position,” Douet will still draw his same salary, Lilly explained.
Douet’s salary is $85,085, according to information from the human resources department.
The board voted unanimously to divide the appointment from its personnel changes, which are typically approved without discussion, and vote separately on the appointment.
The two board members voting against advertising the job were board President Mark Allen Babineaux and Rae Trahan. Board member Tommy Angelle abstained.
Prior to the vote, Trahan questioned whether the board should create a new policy that requires all principal posts be advertised.
“The filling of this position followed policy as we have it in place. If we’re going to start undoing what staff has done and changing it on the board floor, we should (develop) a policy”
The Early College Academy is unique to the district and was the first in the state that offered students the opportunity to earn a diploma in tandem with an associate degree through a partnership with South Louisiana Community College.
It’s ranked as a four-star school based on its student performance.
The upcoming school year is the first that it is a “full-fledged” high school with grades nine through 12 — a hallmark that assured the academy its own principal, Lilly informed the board.
The last advertised principal position was for the district’s newest high school: David Thibodaux Career and Technical High School and at least four people were interviewed for the post, Lilly said.
Jeff Debetaz, former interim principal of Broussard Middle and former assistant principal of Moss, was selected as Thibodaux’s principal.
Lilly said Thursday that another principal post is open at Carencro Heights Elementary. Both principal jobs will be advertised, he said.
Another decision late Wednesday placed at least two more employees on the displaced list after the board voted unanimously to cut its academic auditor program to free up an estimated $428,000 in Title I funds.
The money will be needed to provide additional tutoring at low-performing schools.
The decision involves four salaried positions: an academic auditor, two quality performance specialists and a secretary.
The academic auditor position is a contracted position, which expires in January with a salary of $105,499, according to information from human resources.
The performance specialists, both certified teachers, will be moved to the displaced list, and efforts will be made to find an open position for the department’s secretary, Lilly said Thursday.