Lawyer wins seat on School Board

Randy Wagley for LandryBoard.111412
Randy Wagley for LandryBoard.111412

Opelousas lawyer Randy Wagley won the St. Landry Parish School Board District 9 seat by default Tuesday after his opponent in the Dec. 8 run-off withdrew from the race.

The special election was to fill the remaining two years in the term of former board member Scott Richard, who stepped down last summer to take a job as executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association.

“I’ve been coaching kids for 29 years, and I figured maybe I could do more to help,” Wagley said Tuesday of his decision to run for the open seat.

Wagley and Armand Castille emerged from a three-man primary race Nov. 6 with Wagley taking 43 percent of the vote and Castille taking 38 percent.

Castille, who had served in the District 9 seat from 1995 to 2002, said he withdrew because he felt the run-off race would have been an “uphill battle.”

Castille also talked of what he believes is a desire for a fresh face on the board, and said he seemed to be considered an incumbent in the race because of his prior service.

“We are just letting somebody else see what they can do,” Castille said.

Wagley said he has been actively involved in youth sports in the Opelousas area for the past three decades, coaching football, soccer, track, baseball and softball.

He said the two most pressing issues he sees facing the School Board are the school system’s financial woes and the selection of a new superintendent.

“Obviously, they have to select a superintendent soon,” Wagley said.

The school system has been without a superintendent since former Superintendent Michael Nassif left last year.

The board was scheduled to vote Sept. 26 to name the new superintendent, but the vote was put on hold after it became public that board members Quincy Richard Sr. and John Miller were the target of a federal investigation into alleged bribery attempts related to the selection process.

A federal grand jury indicted Miller and Richard on Oct. 24 on bribery charges.

The two are accused of asking superintendent candidate Joseph Cassimere for $5,000 each in return for their votes in naming him superintendent.

Cassimere, one of five candidates for the job, has been serving as interim superintendent.

Miller and Richard are scheduled to be arraigned on the federal charges Thursday.

On the financial side, Wagley is joining the board at a time when the school system wrapped up the 2011-12 fiscal year with a $1.4 million operating fund deficit.