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Gov. Jindal names temporary education board member, sets election date to fill vacant seat


BATON ROUGE, Louisiana — A March 28 election date has been set by Gov. Bobby Jindal to fill a vacant seat on the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The governor Monday named a temporary BESE member: Mary Johnson Harris, of Shreveport, principal of South Highlands Elementary Magnet School and a former Caddo Parish teacher of the year.

The seat on the 11-member education board was open after member Walter Lee resigned last month, in a plea deal that ended a felony theft case against him.

BESE sets education policy for 69 public school districts and more than 700,000 students. Lee represented the 4th District, covering 10 parishes in northwest Louisiana.

If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote in the March election, a May 2 runoff will be held.

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