After learning schools Superintendent Ed Cancienne is in contract negotiations to take over as the head of another school district, the Iberville Parish School Board decided to find an interim replacement to lead the district, at least until school starts, as the board tries to select a new leader.

The board held a three-hour special meeting Tuesday to iron out the details of its selection process.

Among the topics: establishing a timeline to replace Cancienne, who is poised to step in as schools superintendent in St. James Parish after nine years with Iberville; what qualifications the board wants to use to attract candidates; and whether a salary range should be included in any job announcements.

Appointing an interim superintendent was a hot-button topic that got passionate response from residents with their own ideas how the district should chose the temporary replacement.

Many in attendance Tuesday said the board should pick an interim from within the district. They also urged the board to let the interim superintendent apply for the permanent position, something Baton Rouge attorney Bob Hammonds tried to discourage the board from doing.

“You might want to consider someone like a retired superintendent,” Hammonds said. “If you allow the person to apply for the permanent position, it gives them too much of an advantage over the other applicants.”

Ultimately, the board followed Hammonds’ advice, voting 5-4 on a motion to not allow whoever they choose as interim superintendent to apply for the job on a permanent basis. The board also decided to make the appointment at a special meeting on June 8.

The interim superintendent will not take over until July 1.

“You’re going to need to find someone with experience to open a school system,” Hammonds said.

The board expects Cancienne to officially submit his resignation June 8, a day after the St. James Parish School Board will vote up or down on his contract with that school system.

The Iberville Parish School Board hopes to start interviews for the permanent job in mid July, after closing the application submission process July 5.

The board also tussled over whether to include a salary range in the job announcement. After a lengthy back and forth, board members settled on including a salary range of $120,000 to $160,000 annually.

Cancienne earns $182,814 a year. His contract originally was negotiated at $158,000 annually.

Most of the other decisions related to finding Cancienne’s replacement will be decided once applications have been submitted and the board has a better idea of how to narrow the field of candidates.

Editor’s note: This article was changed on June 2, 2016, to note that the selection of an interim superine ndent will be at a sp ecial board meeting on June 8.

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