Jul 15, 2013 6:51 PM by Chris Welty

Cooper Writes Letter to Board

Lafayette Parish School Superintendent Doctor Pat Cooper is on the defensive.

He says he is looking to move the board forward. This weekend, he sent a memo to board members saying some are violating laws and board policy. Cooper says some members want him to fail, "I'm not interested in being fired, I'm not interested in having my contract bought out, I'm not interested in quitting. I want to do what I was brought here to do and that's the six year plan."

Cooper believes the where the board is now is "disastrous" for the parish. He is fed up with the back and forth. Cooper wants his letter to clear the air.

"Change isn't easy. We've gone through a tough year. We've made a lot of progress and I want people to look at the data, not the innuendos, not the personal feelings," said Cooper.

He wants the board to look at his track record. Cooper says the Turnaround Plan is making a difference; schools are cleaner, systems are in place and they have money in the rainy day fund.

"I'm not trying to grab for power, but I have responsibilities," said Cooper.

In his letter, Cooper says certain board members have knowingly made decisions or passed policy contrary to state law. He accuses some members of micro-managing, going beyond the role of governance possibly committing malfeasance in office.

"If it's not malfeasance, it's awfully close."

Cooper says the board is breaching his contract, trying to sabotage the turnaround plan. He also says the board is ambushing him with issues at meetings instead of brining them up before hand. But members tell KATC, often they're surprised too, learning about issues from Cooper via the news.

"It shouldn't be a surprise if they read the plan and they understand the documents," said Cooper.

He also says his memo isn't a response to his evaluation which will be given at the board meeting on Wednesday night. Cooper maintains the memo was to lay out the "real issues preventing them from moving forward."

After Cooper's evaluation, the board will also consider a resolution to hire a special attorney. Board member Rae Trahan is sponsoring the resolution to hire a lawyer to research the legality of some of the superintendent's actions. That attorney could look into some of Cooper's hiring decision and his pals to go forward with programs struck down by the board.

Chris Welty



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