The East Baton Rouge Parish School on Thursday debated what kind of person it should hire for its next superintendent but will wait until Aug. 4 before making any decisions.

The board also is putting off until then whether to hire a search firm to find the person to replace John Dilworth who is planning to leave when his contract expires in June.

In late 2008, the search firm Hazard Young Attea that handled the search that ended with the hiring of Dilworth, went through a lengthy process that featured hundreds of community surveys and several public meetings. HYA used that information to come up with 14 characteristics for an ideal superintendent.

To save time and money, the board is considering simply adopting those same characteristics again for this next search.

Board member Jill Dyason, who was critical that all of the finalists in that search were veteran educators, suggested rewriting one characteristic that calls for a superintendent who has a “proven track record for leading a similar school district in the improvement of student achievement.”

“While I like the idea of experience,” Dyason said, “I certainly don’t want to exclude nontraditional candidates who may have other qualities they bring to the table.”

After the meeting, Carnell Washington, president of the East Baton Rouge Federation of Teachers, was incredulous at Dyason’s statement.

“We’re the only profession that I know of that says experience doesn’t matter,” said Washington, who leads one of the school system’s two teacher unions.

A request for proposals for a search firm was issued on June 23, but only search firms had applied as of Thursday and the deadline to apply is Monday.

Board President Barbara Freiberg said she hopes more search firms apply by Monday.

Board member Craig Freeman urged the board not to wait and just hire its own consultant. He suggested instead a community-led search process where the board hires a consultant to help recruit candidates, similar to the process recently used to find the Baton Rouge police chief.

Freeman’s motions, however, was not seconded by another board members and failed.