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Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
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The Calcasieu Parish School Board offices at 3310 Broad St. (Photo courtesy of the Calcasieu Parish School Board)

The Calcasieu Parish School Board offices at 3310 Broad St. (Photo courtesy of the Calcasieu Parish School Board)

How open is superintendent search?

Last Modified: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:18 AM

Rumblings from the Calcasieu school system’s Central Office on Broad Street indicate that at least five of the 15-person board have already made up their minds to choose the new school superintendent from within the system’s ranks.

That’s troubling, particularly considering that though Superintendent Wayne Savoy announced his intentions to resign in January, the position has officially been open less than a week and the application deadline, according to search committee chairman R.L. Webb, will likely extend to May 1.

Such pigheadedness on the part of this quintet is not only an injustice for whoever they have in mind to replace Savoy but also to the students and parents who depend on the system to provide a high-quality education.

The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals once included in its definitions of malfeasance in office “as an act which a person ought not to do; (and) as an act which is wholly wrongful.”

Deciding on Savoy’s successor before the position has been advertised nationally borders on that description and nestles somewhere between absurd and asinine.

Choosing the next superintendent is the biggest decision this board will make. A source said most of the members who have already decided to promote from within — and have already picked their candidate — have indicated they will not run for re-election, hence avoiding the wrath of voters.

The entire board need look no further than McNeese State President Philip Williams and Sowela Technical Community College Chancellor Neil Aspinwall to see what new vision can do for stagnant education institutions.

How does this confederacy explain that the Calcasieu school system over the past few years has been the worst-performing system in the six parishes that comprise Imperial Calcasieu?

If they were worried about the children and being accountable to those who pay their salaries and fund the system, they would at least consult with their counterparts in Jeff Davis and Vernon parishes, which have been ranked in the top 10 and have routinely outperformed the Calcasieu school system over the years.

Given the resources available, there’s no reason why the Calcasieu system should not annually be among Louisiana’s top 10 school systems. Last year its district scores ranked the Calcasieu system 14th out of 78 school systems in the state.

Apparently, that’s good enough for these five board members.

Outgoing board members have to ask themselves if this is the legacy they want to leave: that when it came time to search for Savoy’s replacement, they couldn’t look past their own noses. Two months ago, we called on the School Board to cast a wide net in searching for Savoy’s replacement. For these five board members, that net hasn’t reached beyond their arms.

Why? Maybe because even after leaving they want to be able to call their hand-picked appointment and ask for a favor or suggest a hire. Such are the trappings of the good-old-boy network.

Maybe the best applicant is employed within the system. But if these five board members get their way and either don’t conduct an open, nationwide search, or a sham of one, we’ll never know with certainty.

And our children will suffer the consequences.

Posted By: jim On: 3/19/2014

Title: Where has newspaper been for past 20 years

For the past 20 years every principal and assistant principal job was picked way before it was advertised. The most educated and experienced person usually if not always never got the job-----it is all about politics all the time......Where has the american press been while this has happened for at least 20 years. Why has the Press never mentioned this.
You can have all the education and all the experiences and the Cal school board will select the politically connected person even though he/she has little education and little experience. Why now does the paper get uspet about it. Where have you been for 20 yrs.

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