Jindal's choice for Pastorek replacement disputed

by Heather Miller

Four BESE members are said to be opposed to newly appointed RSD chief John White taking over as interim state superintendent of education, which could prompt the vote on White to fail. Some members of the state's top school board are calling John White, head of the state's Recovery School District, unseasoned and not equipped to take over as interim state superintendent of education following Paul Pastorek's resignation.

According to The Advocate, three Board of Elementary and Secondary Education members have publicly stated they will not support White being appointed to the post, which counters Gov. Bobby Jindal's recommendation to have White serve as the temporary head of public education in Louisiana.

A fourth BESE member also is said to be opposed to Jindal's pick, but that has not been confirmed. Since BESE is the board charged with selecting an interim, four votes against White would be enough to block him from taking Pastorek's position.

White, 35, started his job as head of the Recovery School District just days before Pastorek announced he is resigning. White is the former deputy chancellor of New York City schools:
[Dale] Bayard [of Lake Charles] said he will oppose efforts to make White interim state superintendent.

"The guy really needs to get seasoned to handle such an important job," Bayard said.

[Linda] Johnson [of Plaquemine] also said she will oppose White becoming interim state superintendent.

"We brought him 30 days ago to be RSD superintendent," Johnson said. "In my opinion he has not had an opportunity to prove himself."
The person chosen to temporarily oversee public education for 668,000 children in the state will only have a seven-month contract, The Advocate reports, because a new BESE board will be seated in January.

Read more on BESE and White here.