BESE and MFP 051117

BESE President Gary Jones, of Alexandria, left, and Education Superintendent John White on Thursday, May 11, 2017, at a Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting that approved a revised budget request to fund public schools next year.

More than a dozen critics of Louisiana Education Superintendent John White asked a judge Tuesday to either require White to be reconfirmed by the state Senate by the June 8 end of the regular legislative session or declare his post vacant.

White has been superintendent since 2012, when he was appointed by the 11-member state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and approved by the Senate.

His supporters argue that because he hasn't been reappointed by BESE, a Senate confirmation hearing is not required. His critics contend the law requires the superintendent to face another Senate review.

"I plan to continue serving the students of Louisiana until BESE tells me to stop," White, who is operating on a month-to-month contract, said Tuesday in a written statement.

The lead plaintiff in the petition for declaratory judgment filed in the 19th Judicial District Court is Ganey Arsement, a Calcasieu Parish public school teacher with two children in Louisiana public schools.

Arsement said the petition is not a personal attack on White.

"This motion is intended to clarify the law and affirm that if White isn't sent to the Senate for confirmation by a 2/3 vote of BESE, he will be required to vacate the position," Arsement wrote in an email.

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John Bel Edwards repeatedly vowed to replace White during his successful 2015 gubernatorial campaign, but he has not been able to obtain the needed votes on BESE, even with his three appointees.

BESE hires and fires superintendents. White's opponents lack the eight BESE votes needed to fire him. His backers don't have the eight votes required to enter into a new contract with him.

White has butted heads with Edwards, and former Gov. Bobby Jindal, particularly on the Common Core academic standards.

The petition filed by Arsement and 13 other plaintiffs claims the Common Core standards pushed by White are "substantively and academically flawed." The plaintiffs are represented by state Sen. John Milkovich, D-Shreveport.

"The Common Core agenda which Mr. White helped push in Louisiana has resulted in home work assignments that are incomprehensible to parents; distraught children; frustrated parents; overburdened teachers; (and) a drop in morale among educators," the suit alleges.

The case has been assigned to state District Judge William Morvant.

Follow Joe Gyan Jr. on Twitter, @JoeGyanJr.