[Editor's note: After Thursday night’s directive from the Lafayette Parish School Board to push for the final adoption of what many consider a fatally flawed budget — one that would lead to massive across-the-board cuts and possible violations of state and federal laws — Superintendent Pat Cooper responded Friday by issuing the following statement outlining the reasons why he wouldn't be complying with the board's instructions:]
The children’s education is the most important goal that any of us should have. Six members of the Lafayette Parish School Board have directed me as superintendent to begin the process of advertising a version of the 2014-2015 budget that those members have prepared. I am declining to undertake that directive because it is contrary to the best interest of the children. In addition, it is also a directive that goes against recognized policy and procedure and one that could ultimately end up causing violation of state and federal laws and causing disproportionate harm to the poor and minority students as well as the school district as a whole.
|Superintendent Pat Cooper: "Why would I as superintendent advertise a budget that I know is unlawful? How is the public to be expected to review a false budget?"|
In Act 1 of the 2012 legislative session, the responsibility for assuring that all state school laws are complied with was switched from the local school board to the superintendent. I, as superintendent, have a duty to not only protect the school board, but also the thousands of employees and thousands of students from the repercussions of breaking federal and state law or policy of the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and/or the Louisiana Department of Education rules and regulations.
The budget that those six members of the Lafayette Parish School Board are directing me to advertise is replete with flaws, including unlawful cuts and off-the-cuff decisions that lead to shortages of dollars that are required to do the business of educating our children, taking care of the needs of the disabled, and enhancing our programs for our highest performing students. I, in good conscious and in respect for the law and the public, with whom I must maintain trust, cannot proceed with the adoption process when I do not believe the document is a fair and honest representation. Why would I as superintendent advertise a budget that I know is unlawful? How is the public to be expected to review a false budget?
There is also a more apparent legal side of this process that clearly instructs and guides me to not advertise the budget the board is proposing. It is procedural and continues to be misunderstood by the board and their legal counsel. According to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, the budget that is to be advertised is the superintendent’s budget, not a budget that has been conceived by the board. The board has been made aware of this numerous times to no avail. As late as this morning [Friday] we have spoken to the legal section of the Legislative Auditor’s office and this requirement has been verified once again.
What is next is that I will work with the finance department to develop a detailed balanced budget to be advertised. That process could take up to a week since the board has not allowed any of my budgets to go forward. I will then place it on a future meeting agenda to get board approval to advertise.
As far as the students and teachers are concerned, we will continue utilizing 50 percent of the most recently amended previous year’s budget to provide a quality educational experience until, and if, a new budget is adopted.
San Fran wins the World Series; Sistine Chapel improvements; Kurds moving toward Syria and more national and international news for Thursday, October 30, 2014.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."
A state district judge said he will rule Friday on a preliminary injunction to keep some charter schools from receiving $60 million through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
Saints fans were to gather, make merry, eat/drink compliments of a new Downtown group and watch the Saints beat Carolina and claim 1st place in the NFC South. But...
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram doesn't see his dramatic spike in production as any sort of validation.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing off one last time with her two main Republican challengers before next week's election.
He’s pulling for Knezek and Hidalgo on his end of the parish but issued endorsements in three other districts as well.
Off a narrow gravel road running between a handful of mostly abandoned lots near a Mississippi River levee, down past sprawling oak trees and thick weeds, a lectern framed by banana trees has been set up in front of three short rows of folding chairs.
Hillary Rodham Clinton is heading to New Orleans this weekend to stir up voter support for Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Saints coach Sean Payton has spent much of his team's erratic season trying to build his players up.
The Daily Advertiser has weighed in on this year's LPSB elections with nine endorsements.
The Daily Advertiser uncovers at least two disciplinary actions against veteran sheriff’s deputy Kip Judice for driving a department vehicle after drinking alcohol.
The LPSB has named Melinda Mangham as the interim replacement for the District 7 seat recently vacated by Mark Cockerham.
Gifford Briggs, vice president of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, insisted that a settlement is not on the table and a consent decree in exchange for a new processing fee is highly unlikely.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says he expects about half of Louisiana's 2.9 million registered voters to cast ballots for the Nov. 4 election.
While the Division of Administration, Treasurer John Kennedy and the legislative auditor spar over the validity of a $178.5 million surplus, and how it was calculated, some officials expect it to be up for grabs sooner or later.
For all you red-blooded, church-going Americans out there unwilling to make a deal with the devil known as Obamacare, it’s OK, there’s now an alternative health care option that doesn’t include an eternal fate of hellfire and brimstone in the fine print.
Deflated in Detroit one week. Sublime in the Superdome the next.
Republican U.S. Rep. Bill Cassidy is skipping the latest TV debate in Louisiana's U.S. Senate race.
Dr. Emily Champion was found shot to death inside the Trigg County, Ky., home of her parents, who were also killed.