Orleans Parish School Board members Ben Kleban, Leslie Ellison and John Brown Sr. listen intently to a presentation. Ellison and Brown were re-elected to their leadership positions at the Jan. 17, 2019 meeting. Credit: Marta Jewson / The Lens

A new Orleans Parish School Board member could be selected next week to replace outgoing member Ben Kleban, the elected board’s attorney Sharonda Williams has confirmed. 

Kleban is set to resign effective June 15, about seven months before his term expires. The board must select his replacement within 20 days or the task will fall to Gov. John Bel Edwards. Three individuals — Katie Baudouin, Jonas Chartock and Grisela Jackson — are seeking the district 5 seat, which covers parts of Central City, Uptown and the Lower Garden District.

The selection could come at the next board meeting, scheduled for June 11. Kleban will still be on the board. Asked if he would vote on his replacement, Kleban said he had no comment. Board president Ethan Ashley did not respond to a call or email inquiring whether he had a position on Kleban voting for his own replacement. 

“There is no legal prohibition against Mr. Kleban participating in the vote,” Williams wrote in an email. 

Williams also elaborated on the replacement process. Because Kleban is leaving with less than a year in his term — which expires in January — the board will select his replacement. Kleban, his wife and three children are moving to Washington state to be closer to family. The replacement will only serve out the calendar year, until whomever voters chose in a November election is sworn in in January. 

“The applicants will do short presentations at the board meeting, board members will be allowed to ask questions of the applicants, then a vote will be taken,” Williams wrote in an email. 

“There will be a nomination and vote on a candidate,” Williams wrote. “As with any other action item, public comment will be allowed in connection with the vote.”

Orleans Parish School Board members serve four year terms and the full board is up for election in November. The seven-member school board oversees the NOLA Public Schools district and hires and evaluates its superintendent. It also sets policy, but those policies generally don’t apply to independent charter schools that set their own policies. This fall, all but one school in the district will be charters.

The board meets for committee meetings on June 9 and a full board meeting on June 11.

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...