The Pointe Coupee Parish School Board on Thursday took another step toward opening a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Academy by fall 2016 by creating a new administrative position to manage the proposed school.

But, the board’s unanimous approval of the job description for the district’s new chief program administrator doesn’t mean it can fill the position any time soon.

Schools Superintendent Kevin Lemoine said the school district’s proposal to transform the old Pointe Coupee Central High campus into the STEM Academy must first be approved by U.S. District Judge James J. Brady.

“We can’t hire anyone until after he gives us the OK,” Lemoine said after the School Board meeting. “But we didn’t want a delay in the judge’s decision to hold up our timeline. So, if he approves it, we’ll be on target to bring on the person by late November, early December.”

Because the school district remains under federal court supervision for not having fully complied with desegregation orders, the district’s plan for Central has to ensure a racial balance can be achieved at the school.

Lemoine said Thursday the district’s status hearing with Brady will likely be Nov. 5.

This district has already begun more than $1.2 million in renovations at the Pointe Coupee Central campus, which has been closed since August 2014. The school is expected to open next fall.

Lemoine said the chief program administrator would have duties mirroring that of school principals, but the job includes oversight of other programs throughout the district.

According to the job description, the chief program administrator would also help integrate the STEM curriculum at all the district’s schools, serve as the liaison between the school district and local industries and businesses, and design a program highlighting performance arts for students.

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