The Louisiana Supreme Court on Friday denied a last-gasp appeal from Jefferson Parish School Board member Melinda Doucet, who was disqualified by lower courts from running again for her seat.
The decision, which came down late Friday afternoon, means that former longtime John Ehret High School football coach Billy North will hold the 7th District seat, which is based in Harahan, starting in January.
North had challenged Doucet's candidacy, alleging that she did not file the required state tax returns for two previous years.
A state district judge ruled against Doucet, who appealed the decision to the state 5th Circuit Court of Appeal, arguing that the extension requests she filed for her federal returns should suffice. The appeals court also found for North, so Doucet turned to the Supreme Court, which refused to hear the case.
Doucet said she was disappointed by the decision, noting the work she said she has done on behalf of children and teachers. She vowed to remain active in the community, saying, "I will live to fight another day."
Reached by phone Friday, North thanked Doucet for her service to the board and the community.
Between now and January, when the new board members will take office after the Nov. 6 election, North said he plans to spend time listening to his new constituents.
"I know I can bring a wealth of experience," he said. "What I really want to bring is my ability to build teams."
North was the head football coach at John Ehret High School from 1989 until 2012. After that, he went to Riverdale High School as an academic dean before finishing his career at Roosevelt Middle School, where he served as a disciplinarian.
"We have to look at classroom discipline, school safety measures," he said. "We have to look at our budgets. ... I'm a fiscal conservative."
Doucet won office in 2014, defeating then-incumbent Mark Jacobs. She had run as a candidate favored by teachers unions, who poured money into various school board races in an effort to retake a board majority from candidates favored by the business community.
Especially later in her term, however, Doucet found herself frequently siding with the business-backed faction, especially in the ouster of Superintendent Isaac Joseph, who had angry words for Doucet on his way out the door.
North, like Doucet a Republican, now joins incumbent Larry Dale as the only two board members not facing election tests.
The man running against one-term incumbent Melinda Doucet for the Jefferson Parish School Board District 7 seat has filed a lawsuit challengin…