The nine local civic groups that came together to bring education talks to the forefront in Lafayette Parish may soon have an new (and old) member of its team. Lafayette Parish School System Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper, speaking in a phone interview Friday morning following a Thursday night welcome reception for Cooper at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, says LPSS rejoining the Lafayette Parish Education Stakeholders Council is a “no brainer.”

The nine organizations that comprise LaPESC are the705, 100 Black Men of Greater Lafayette, Citizens Action Council, Concerned Citizens for Good Government, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, State of Greater Black Lafayette, Southwest LA Black Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Acadiana and UL Lafayette. The groups’ collective membership is more than 5,000 strong.

The Lafayette Parish School System was a member at the outset but former Superintendent Burnell Lemoine withdrew its membership after LaPESC began planning candidate forums for board elections.

Cooper says he believes he can reinstate the school system’s membership without any action from the school board. If he’s wrong, however, he says board approval likely won’t be an issue.

“We think it’s one of the most important things we can do right now,” says Cooper, whose warm sentiment toward LaPESC was evident Thursday night when he joined more than 100 members of the nine organizations for a welcome reception at AcA.  “I’m very impressed with the work they’ve done and the work they’ll continue to do. We need to not only be a member — but an active member.”

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