A case of poor timing landed state Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek in hot water with the House Appropriations Committee as he was testifying Wednesday about his agency’s budget.
Pastorek, whose cocksure manner and $377,000 annual pay package has rankled legislators in years past, told Rep. Patricia Smith, D-Baton Rouge, early in the meeting that he planned to select a new superintendent for the Recovery School District “soon, very soon.” But Pastorek didn’t divulge to the committee members that he had tapped John White, deputy chancellor for New York City public schools, to take over the job held by Paul Vallas.
As Pastorek continued his testimony, lawmakers on the committee learned the truth, as the news of White’s selection was reported on NOLA.com. And that brought a rebuke from the courtly committee chairman Jim Fannin, D-Jonesboro, who reminded the superintendent that he was under oath when he was being questioned. “So you weren’t willing to share that? That you had made the selection?” Fannin asked.