By Associated Press - Tuesday, May 30, 2017

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Critics of Louisiana’s state education superintendent filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging his validity in the position.

They asked a judge to require Superintendent John White to be reconfirmed by the state Senate by the June 8 end of the legislative session or to declare his job vacant.

White has been superintendent since 2012, when he was appointed by the 11-member state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and approved by the Senate.

The Advocate reports ( that White’s supporters say since he hasn’t been reappointed by the education board, Senate confirmation isn’t required. His critics contend the law requires the superintendent to face another Senate review during the new legislative and education board term.

“I plan to continue serving the students of Louisiana until BESE tells me to stop,” White, who is operating on a month-to-month contract, said in a statement.

The lead plaintiff in the petition filed in state district court in Baton Rouge is Ganey Arsement, a Calcasieu Parish public school teacher with two children in Louisiana public schools. The plaintiffs are represented by state Sen. John Milkovich, a Shreveport Democrat.

Arsement said the petition is not a personal attack on White.

“This motion is intended to clarify the law and affirm that if White isn’t sent to the Senate for confirmation by a two-thirds vote of BESE, he will be required to vacate the position,” Arsement wrote in an email.

The education board hires and fires superintendents. White’s opponents, including Gov. John Bel Edwards, lack the eight board votes needed to fire him. His backers don’t have the eight votes required to enter into a new contract with him.

The case has been assigned to Judge William Morvant.

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