Orleans Parish School Board member Ben Kleban will resign effective June 15, due to family reasons, he announced in an email Friday. 

“My wife and I are faced with the evolving realities of the recent birth of our 3rd child, aging parents and the desire for our family to be physically closer to our extended family members,” it read. “After deep thought and reflection, we have made the tough decision to move to Washington State for our family.”

Ben Kleban

Kleban wrote that he was making the announcement now to help ensure a smooth transition. 

If a board seat becomes empty, school board policy requires the board to fill it by appointing someone within 20 days. If there is more than a year left in the term, the board must hold a special election. But Kleban’s term expires in January, with elections slated for the fall. Kleban said he expects the board will appoint someone at its June meeting. 

Board president Ethan Ashley did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment. 

Kleban, who was elected in 2016, founded the New Orleans College Prep charter network prior to serving on the board. In recent years, he’s also started a home construction business. He represents parts of the Central Business District and a swath of Uptown.

Kleban wrote that he was especially proud of helping to oversee the transfer of Recovery School District charters back to local control under OPSB, the development of a charter school accountability framework and development of the district’s per-pupil funding formula. 

The last time a board member resigned early was in 2015, when then-board member Ira Thomas resigned after he was federally indicted in a bribery scheme involving a school board janitorial contract. He later pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a year in jail for his role. The board selected John Brown Sr. to fill his role. Brown then won the seat in a November 2015 election. 

Qualifying for the Orleans Parish School Board begins in July. The election will be held in November with a run-off in December. New members are sworn in in January. 

Marta Jewson

Marta Jewson covers education in New Orleans for The Lens. She began her reporting career covering charter schools for The Lens and helped found the hyperlocal news site Mid-City Messenger. Jewson returned...