DONALDSONVILLE — A Gonzales resident’s efforts to question Ascension Parish School Board members about the second search for a new superintendent failed Tuesday when the board voted 8-2 not to add him to the meeting agenda.

Board member Julie Blouin made a motion, seconded by Robyn Penn Delaney, to add an agenda item to Tuesday’s meeting, allowing James Moore to address the School Board on the superintendent search.

“People are asking questions I cannot answer,” Blouin said.

Last month, a majority of the School Board rejected three finalists named after a months-long search, and then voted to begin search again, without the use of a consultant for the second go-round and with a shorter time frame.

Advertisements for the job opening were placed in local and area media on June 16 and the board is now looking to hire the next superintendent on Aug. 9.

At Tuesday’s meeting, after Blouin made the motion to hear from Moore, Board President Pat Russo said she felt the issue of the superintendent search had been settled and that she had offered to speak personally with Moore about the process.

Russo also said a unanimous vote by the board would be required to add a new item to the agenda.

The motion failed, 8-2. Board member Kerry Diez was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

After the meeting, Moore said, “They spent $23,000 of taxpayer dollars and did not complete the search,” referring to the fee paid to the consultant used in the first search.

“The School Board, in my opinion, has already selected the candidate,” he said.

A former Ascension Parish school principal, Charley Stephens, who attended Tuesday’s meeting, said after the meeting, “After spending $23,000, what did the School Board get? Zero.”

Stephens retired from the school system in 1994 after more than 30 years, and went on to work with Ascension Parish government, retiring in 2004 as the director of Health and Social Services.

“The whole board agreed to hire a consultant because we wanted to make sure that we threw a wide net; we wanted the top applicants,” Russo said after Tuesday’s meeting.

“We did follow the process and when it came down to the last three candidates, at that time, the motion was made to bring in the three candidates for a face-to-face interview and there was a substitute motion to end the search there and to re-advertise,” she said.

“That motion was seconded and it passed and it was a 7-4 vote. Whatever the vote of the board, that’s how we proceed,” Russo said.

In another matter, the School Board authorized advertising for sealed bids for the purchase of $20 million of general obligation school bonds, to begin the first of 14 construction projects to be built over the next several years.

The projects will be funded with a total of $120 million in bond monies made possible by voters’ approval in April to continue a long-standing property tax.

Follow Ellyn Couvillion on Twitter, @EllynCouvillion