Postponed: BESE's Orange Jones set for Ethics Board ruling

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Update: 8:55 a.m. Friday. The executive secretary of the Ethics Board said Orange Jones’ attorney requested Thursday that the matter be delayed until the board’s August meeting.

The Louisiana Board of Ethics is scheduled to meet Friday and hand down its edict on whether Board of Elementary and Secondary Education representative Kira Orange Jones should continue to serve in on state school board, and it’s likely they’ll tell her she can’t.

The board presented a draft advisory opinion that said as much in June, when Jones was originally slated to appear. Jones works as executive director of the teacher recruitment organization Teach For America, which enters into a $1 million contract last year with the Louisiana Department of Education to funnel teachers to schools. It’s expected to do the same this fall.

That poses a problem for Jones because any contract over $50,000 must be approved by the state education board, and state law says members can’t serve on a board that approves contracts in which they have a vested interest. The draft opinion essentially means that Jones must choose to either give up her paid position with Teach For America, or relinquish her board seat.

However, Jones’ counsel, Jim Babst, doesn’t see it that way. In a June interview, he said that Jones should be able to simply recuse herself from voting to approve the contract, and that should solve the legal issues. He said as much to the ethics board when his office requested the opinion. Neither Babst nor Jones was immediately available for comment Thursday.

The ethics meeting will begin at 9 a.m., and Jones’ appearance is first on the docket. Follow @williamlensnola on Twitter for updates.

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