It took the Jefferson Parish School Board less than five minutes Thursday to officially begin the process of firing Superintendent Isaac Joseph and searching for a replacement to lead the state's largest school system.
At a special meeting, three board members read items into the record that, if approved by a majority of the board at a meeting next week, would notify Joseph that his contract will not be renewed, hire an attorney to begin preparing charges that would allow the board to remove him for cause, and begin advertising the job.
The board is scheduled to meet Wednesday.
All three items are contingent on a majority vote of the board's nine members. But that would seem to be a foregone conclusion: Of the six members who did not present first readings Thursday related to Joseph, four have indicated that they favor replacing him.
The Jefferson Parish School Board has called a special meeting Thursday to begin the process of removing Superintendent Isaac Joseph, board Pr…
Notifying Joseph and advertising for his job are standard procedure. But the board will also decide whether to hire attorney Leonard Levenson for "the development of charges against and preserving the due process rights" of Joseph, according to one of the readings.
Some members of the board want to remove Joseph as soon as possible, rather than wait for the expiration of his contract on June 30. To do so, they would have to show that he violated board policy or did not meet performance benchmarks built into his contract.
Board member Tiffany Kuhn said it was important to her that the attorney also make sure the board does things fairly and does not violate Joseph's due process rights.
Typically, if the board votes to uphold charges against him, Joseph would have a period of time to present a defense, board attorney Mike Fanning said.
Joseph is already facing one internal investigation, which is being conducted by attorney John Litchfield, after board member Cedric Floyd last year alleged, without disclosing any details, that Joseph may have broken board policy and state law.
Litchfield's report was expected before the end of the year but has not yet been delivered to the board. It is now expected by Tuesday, one day before the board meets again.
Jefferson Parish School Superintendent Isaac Joseph is unlikely to have his contract renewed when it expires at the end of June, according to …
Board President Mark Morgan said he believes the school system needs to have a new superintendent in place "as soon as possible." Waiting until Joseph's contract expires would create a "chaotic" situation when the new school year begins in August, he said.
Morgan and a second board member, Larry Dale, met with Joseph late last year in an attempt to work out a deal to get him to leave earlier, Morgan and Joseph have said. But Joseph rejected any deal, saying he felt an obligation to serve until the end of his contract.