Isaac Joseph's tenure at the top of the state's largest school system could be coming to an end sooner rather than later.
The Jefferson Parish School Board has called a special meeting for Wednesday at 5 p.m., one hour before its regular meeting. The only item on the agenda is to consider a proposal to buy out the remainder of Joseph's contract as superintendent.
The meeting, the result of ongoing negotiations between Joseph and board President Mark Morgan, could bring to an end the long-running drama around Joseph's future.
Morgan refused to discuss terms of the proposal Tuesday, saying he would present it to the board. But he added that the agreement would be similar to the one offered to Joseph's predecessor, James Meza.
Meza was paid for the remainder of his contract, as well as his accumulated sick and leave time, but left office early.
Joseph did not return a call seeking comment.
The buyout would end months of tense relations between Joseph and the board. Last year, board members voted to investigate whether Joseph had violated school system policy or state law. A report on those allegations, which have never been revealed publicly, is pending before the board.
Then, in January, after the board began the procedures necessary to avoid renewing his contract, Joseph indicated that he wanted to stay through June 30, the contract's final day.
"I want to earn my money," Joseph said, adding that he felt obligated to the system where he has worked for more than 30 years.
Board members countered that the system needed to get a new head in place as soon as possible. Some said that waiting until the end of Joseph's contract would cripple an incoming superintendent, who would have barely a month on the job before the new school year begins.
It's not certain, however, that the board will be able to get a new superintendent by this summer. One board member, Cedric Floyd, has said he would prefer to choose an interim superintendent to serve until after a new board is seated in January. Each board member is up for re-election in November.
The board is currently advertising for a new superintendent. The deadline for applications is Feb. 23.
Current DeSoto Parish Superintendent Cade Brumley has been widely speculated as a replacement for Joseph.