Early Wednesday evening, Superintendent Isaac Joseph got official word that his career with the Jefferson Parish school system will end Feb. 28, when a buyout of the remaining months of his contract takes effect.
That made Wednesday night Joseph's last board meeting. And before he went, the normally reserved superintendent had some strong words for the nine-member body that governs the system.
"I just hope that after Feb. 28, this board kind of gets its act together," Joseph said, during a discussion of seating arrangements at board meetings. "You have some very hard work to do."
Joseph chastised the board for allowing "political agendas" to get in the way of looking out for the education of the system's 50,000 students.
"I've been doing this a long time. I've seen a lot of boards," Joseph added before noting the board often votes along factional, 5-4 or 6-3 lines. "Y'all ought to be ashamed of yourselves."
Joseph singled out board member Melinda Doucet, who earlier in the meeting had said she did not get support from Joseph in helping her promote a millage proposal for pay raises that failed in the fall.
"That's another person who said publicly she supported the millage and didn't," Joseph said, to cheers from some in the audience.
Joseph wasn't the only one with strong words for the board. Marion "Coach" Bonura, who represents a Metairie district on the board, had strong words for his colleagues on Joseph's behalf.
"Teachers at their schools right now are panicking," he said. "They can't believe what y'all have done to him."
Bonura also upbraided his colleagues for not having a plan for replacing Joseph. "What's the plan?" he asked. "I'm asking a sensible question."
Board President Mark Morgan said that applications are due Feb. 23. A special meeting has been called for 4 p.m. that day to formally acknowledge receipt of the applications and to schedule public interviews of the candidates.