A bid by local superintendents and school board members to trim state oversight of superintendent contracts failed Wednesday in the Louisiana House Education Committee.

The vote was five in favor and 10 opposed.

Opponents said the move would cripple efforts to improve Louisiana’s 29 school districts rated C, D and F.

“This bill would remove merit from contracts,” said Brigitte Nieland, who follows public school issues for the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

The rule in dispute was part of former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 2012 education overhaul.

It requires local boards in C, D and F districts to include performance goals — covering student achievement, graduation rates and teacher effectiveness — in contracts with local superintendents.

Copies of the agreement also have to be submitted to the state superintendent of education.

State Rep. J. Rogers Pope, R-Denham Springs, sponsor of the bill, called the rules intrusive. “The contract has to be between the local board and the local superintendent,” Pope said.

The push was backed by the Louisiana School Boards Association and the Louisiana Association of School Superintendents.

Scott Richard, executive director of the school boards association, told the committee today’s rules are unenforceable.

“This is not an attempt to turn back the clock,” Richard said.

Pope, former superintendent of the Livingston Parish school system, said submitting the contracts to the state superintendent of education means little.

“They are not getting any feedback from the department,” he said, a reference to the state Department of Education.

State Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, a member of the committee and House sponsor of the 2012 law, criticized the legislation.

Carter said the state is entitled to check contracts because it is sending $3.6 billion to local districts.

“The way we are doing it now seems to be working,” he said.

The legislation is House Bill 399.

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