Lafayette

Aug 20, 2013 12:55 PM by Tina Macias

Charter schools, budget adoption and Cooper investigate slated for Lafayette school board meetings

Charter schools, the adoption of a $600 million budget and the signing of a resolution to hire an attorney to investigate superintendent Pat Cooper will all be discussed during several Lafayette Parish School Board meetings on Wednesday.

During its regular meeting at 5:30 p.m., the school board will consider approving charter applications from two companies -- Charter Schools USA and the National Heritage Foundation -- to build five charter schools. Charter Schools USA wants to build three schools -- two elementary and one high school -- beginning in 2014. National Heritage Foundation wants to build two elementary schools, one in 2014 and another in 2015.

The board will also consider authorizing board president Shelton Cobb to sign a resolution that would hire a special attorney to investigate Cooper. The resolution was approved by the board in July, but Cooper has not signed the document.

The school board will begin its marathon of meetings at 3 p.m. Wednesday with an update on its health care provider, followed by a public hearing for its budget at 4 p.m. and a vote on its budget at 4:30 p.m. The board has been operating without a budget since the fiscal year began July 1.

The budget process began with a multi-million dollar shortfall that delayed progress and might have required dipping into the rainy day fund. But, after some budget cuts and unexpected funding from the state, the proposed budget is balance and includes:
- Increasing employee health insurance premiums
- $1.2 million in teacher raises funded by increased state funding
- Closing dozens of open teacher positions.

Several discussion and introduction items are also on the board's regular meeting agenda, including the discussion of:
- Artificial turf vs. natural turf at area high schools
- Status of PACE Program with Acadiana Center of Arts
- Administrator titles and descriptions
- The appointment of a district attorney counsel after the retirement of attorney Jimmy Simon

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