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School board recommends Adam Smith after Sito Narcisse quits as EBR public schools superintendent

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BATON ROUGE — Sito Narcisse quit Friday as superintendent of the East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System. The following day, the school board recommended Adam Smith as an interim replacement. 

Six weeks after the School Board rejected a contract extension and a series of pay raises that would have made him the highest-paid superintendent in Louisiana, Narcisse said it was time to bring in a new leader to finish what he started.

"We didn't get everything right but we built the system to a better place," Narcisse said.

School board members will vote on whether or not to keep Smith in a special meeting on Tuesday, which was originally scheduled on Monday. 

Smith has 25 years of teaching experience in the East Baton Rouge Parish Public School System. He has also been a principal at several district schools. 

The meeting will be streamed on WBRZ's YouTube page here and on WBRZ+.

Narcisse's current contract runs through June, and district leaders said Friday they had worked out a severance package for him. 

"If you asked me as a board member, and as the immediate past president of the board if this was a solid decision to make, I would tell you no," former Board President Dadrius Lanus said.

Lanus' concerns came more from budgeting; in light of the school board's budgeting issues, Lanus asked where the money would come from.

Metro Council member Chauna Banks also defended Narcisse's tenure, noting his advancement with helping students reach a higher level.

"Seeing children who are two years behind behind being excited about dual enrollment, all of those are things that I never saw," Banks said. "It restored me having pride in being an East Baton Rouge employee."

Several issues with the school district have been in the spotlight: a bus shortage, a bus driver's strike, a teacher shortage and a budget crisis. 

Even with the controversy, Narcisse supporters say that he should not be blamed for the problems. 

"That's not something that started with Doctor Narcisse, those are problems that he inherited, those are things that's been going on for years. They were going on when I was going to school," resident Jacquelyn Germany said.

Supporters said Narcisse started the "Pathways to Bright Futures" incentive, which sets up high school students to graduate with an associate's degree or an industry-based credential alongside their diploma. 

Narcisse became superintendent in early 2021.

This is a developing story. 

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