The process of formally charging Superintendent Pat Cooper was put into motion Thursday night following a recommendation from the attorney hired by the Lafayette Parish School Board for a special investigation.
Attorney Dennis Blunt cited 10 instances in which Cooper may have violated state law or board policy. His presentation was followed by a 6-3 vote of the board authorizing him to begin preparing formal charges.
“During the tenure of Dr. Cooper as superintendent, there has been conduct, in my opinion, unbecoming of the professional instructional leader of the Lafayette Parish School System,” Blunt told the board.
It’s unclear when Blunt will present the formal charges to the board, but once that happens, a provision in Cooper’s contract allows him an additional 20 days to prepare a response before the board is allowed the opportunity to initiate termination proceedings.
What’s troubling about this situation is that three of the board members who have consistently pushed for Cooper’s investigation, and ultimately his termination, are leaving their seats come January. This group includes Mark Allen Babineaux, Greg Awbrey and Rae Trahan.
The termination of a superintendent is big, and a decision of this magnitude should arguably be left to the new board seated in January, as the responsibility of the school system will rest on their shoulders, not the three board members who have decided to jump ship. Likewise, these three board members have been opposed to Cooper’s superintendency from the very start, and the outcome of Thursday’s report by Blunt shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering he was hired, and paid, by a board with an ulterior motive to remove Cooper, even if that’s the last action they make as board members. So ultimately, Blunt was giving his clients what they wanted — a report catered toward meeting one specific end: the ouster of a superintendent.
Another aspect to this story is the federal lawsuit filed by Cajundome director Greg Davis and his attorney Gary McGoffin, which calls for the disqualification of board members Tehmi Chassion and Mark Allen Babineaux from voting on any measures related to Cooper’s employment. The suit lays out a series of examples detailing the bias of each board member toward the superintendent. It’s unclear when this matter will go before the court, but it could play a role in stopping the effort to fire Cooper, or at least in delaying the issue long enough for the seating of a new board in January.
Coton de tulear joins Westminster; Paypal splitting from Ebay; first US Ebola diagnosis and more national and international news for Wednesday, October 1, 2014.
Wednesday's Blogs from the Bog!
A constellation of South Louisiana musical stars descends on Parc Sans Souci to honor an ailing David Egan.
INDStyle Awards 2014 was one for the books; the American Cancer Society took over The Victorian's big tent; and the battle of the sexes was alive and well for Walk a Runway's Christmas fundraiser.
The Acadiana Symphony Orchestra teams up with choreographer Clare Cook for a modern take on a Stravinsky classic.
Local food pantries begin seasonal drives
A girl's best fashion friend
Stage 4 vet takes on cancer and reminds us all what it really means to get involved.
Creative living flourishes at Downtown’s artist hub
Four bedroom cottage or four bedroom traditional
Bold looks for fall define INDStyle Awards 2014
Statement pieces for the season
The gents venture out
Project Front Yard has been launched to help us change our image and our habits.
Alleged victim is a Navy vet with brain trauma resulting from a car accident three decades ago.
Is Mary fading as Vitter solidifies his lock on the fourth floor?
Richard Buswell was sentenced Tuesday to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an investment scheme that defrauded his clients of more than $6 million.
The Latin Music Festival returns to Parc International this Saturday, Oct. 4, from noon to 10 p.m.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has renegotiated contracts for six LSU hospital privatization deals, hoping to reach a compromise with federal health officials that will keep Medicaid dollars flowing to the privatized patient services.
Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is defending her record on gun rights, seeking to rebut sharp criticism from the NRA in a state where the right to bear arms is given special constitutional protection.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Citizens, you have less than a week to register to vote in the Nov. 4 election. Remember, if you don’t vote you can’t complain about the outcome. Well, you can but it’s kind of hypocritical.
After being forced out by its former landlords last year, the community garden has a new location and a 10-year lease.
The party says it has hit a milestone, reaching 10,000 registered voters in the state.
Defensive captain Junior Galette is disgusted by the Saints' sluggish start.
The use of $60 million in Louisiana's public school financing formula to pay for nearly three dozen charter schools violates the state constitution, a statewide teachers' union claimed Monday in a lawsuit.
Lafayette Regional seeking new leadership after longtime director Greg Roberts’ June resignation.
February trial date indicates parties were unable to negotiate a settlement.
T&T show behind the scenes