OPELOUSAS — Gov. Bobby Jindal will have the authority to appoint an interim St. Landry Parish School Board member for District 9 after the board failed on two 6-6 votes Wednesday to choose one of five applicants for the position.
All six black board members voted for former parish school administrator and Opelousas Alderman Harvey Darbonne, and the six white board members voted to select former board member Armand Castille.
Darbonne is black. Castille is white.
School Board attorney Gerard Caswell said after the meeting that he will inform the Louisiana Office of Secretary of State of the board’s inability to reach a decision on replacing former board member Scott Richard, who resigned his District 9 seat earlier this month to work for the Louisiana School Board Association.
Board President Kyle Boss said the other three applicants who were not nominated for the interim position were Opelousas lawyer Randy Wagley, former parish school administrator Raymond Duplechain and Justin Franklin, a student at the Opelousas Magnet Academy for the Cultural Arts.
Only Darbonne and Castille’s names were placed in nomination.
Voting for Darbonne were Anthony Standberry, Charles Ross, Josie Frank, Raymond Cassimere, John Miller and Quincy Richard. Those voting against Darbonne were Candace Gerace, Roger Young, Huey Wyble, Harry Fruge, Boss and Ronald Carriere.
Voting to appoint Castille were Gerace, Young, Wyble, Fruge, Carriere and Boss. Those voting against Castille were Standberry, Ross, Frank, Cassimere, Miller and Richard.
Caswell said Jindal’s appointee to School Board could become effective immediately, since the board was given the chance to make an appointment and failed.
In another matter, District 40 state Rep. Ledricka Thierry presented acting Superintendent Joseph Cassimere with a $1.75 million check from revenues derived from the St. Landry Parish Excellence Fund.
The Excellence Fund was created by an act of the Louisiana Legislature in which a portion of slot machine revenues from the Evangeline Downs Racino is placed in an account for use by St. Landry’s school district. School system officials said money in the fund has been accruing for several years.
The district’s Excellence Fund revenues were initially scheduled to be transferred from the account into the state treasury account as part of the Jindal’s administration’s executive budget proposal in March, said Thierry, D-Opelousas.