Meeting set to start selection of school board member

EBR School Board members Randy Lamana,
EBR School Board members Randy Lamana,

The East Baton Rouge Parish School Board has called a special meeting to set in motion the process to replace Randy Lamana, the District 11 board member who recently died.

Lamana died of an apparent heart attack late April 16 after leaving a hearing at the state Legislature.

“It’s such a great loss. That’s what’s so sad,” School Board President David Tatman said. “Randy was a dedicated public servant, and it’s the first time we’ve had to do this.”

The meeting is set for 5:15 p.m. Thursday at the School Board Office, 1050 S. Foster Drive.

The board plans to take up only one item, a resolution declaring a vacancy and inviting people who live in District 11 to apply to complete Lamana’s unexpired term, which ends Dec. 31.

Thursday’s special meeting is starting at 5:15 p.m. because that is the earliest that Tatman said he could ensure a quorum of six members would be present.

The board plans to hold another special meeting May 1 to appoint Lamana’s replacement.

The week between meetings is because state law gives the board just 20 days to fill the vacancy on its own.

“We have to do something by May 7 or the governor can act,” Tatman said.

Lamana’s district includes the northeast corner of the parish but stretches south all the way into the Broadmoor area. It excludes Central, which formed its own school district in 2007.

Tatman said the board also is likely to take up other issues at that May 1 meeting, namely all the items the board had planned to consider April 17 at its regular board meeting. Tatman canceled that meeting because of Lamana’s death.

One of those issues is to hire Redistricting LLC, the firm that has handled past School Board redistricting efforts, to draw up yet another set of maps.

Tatman said he would like the board to consider coming up with maps that reduce the number of School Board members from 11 to 9, with seven representing districts and two elected at large.

The Legislature is considering legislation to reduce the School Board even more — from 11 to 7 members, six from districts and one at large.

If approved it would take place in time for School Board elections on Nov. 4. Tatman said if the board shows it’s serious about shrinking itself, it may pass on the proposed legislation.