Oct 16, 2013 10:43 PM by Tina Macias

Lafayette school board challenges legality of charter contract

The Lafayette Parish School Board voted tonight to ask the state Attorney General to weigh in on the legality of a contract that might have made it easier for charter schools to move into Lafayette Parish.

At question is a contract between the state Department of Education and the school board that allowed charter schools applicants to apply and be reviewed through the state. Superintendent Pat Cooper signed the agreement without board approval.

After the board rejected applications for five charter schools, the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education approved them this week even even though charter applications are usually approved in August.

In other business, the board also:
- heard a recommendation from the Community Education Plan Committee to place a sales and property tax proposal on the May 2014 ballot. The taxes would fund $500 million for school facility upgrades, the turnaround plan and employee pay increases. The school board will hold a retreat next month to discuss the recommendation and possibly decide between three funding options. It would have to vote by Jan. 8 to bring the proposal to a public vote in May. The committee also recommended that the board survey voters this fall and implement a public relations campaign in the months leading up to the proposed vote.

- Voted unanimously to get an opinion from its special counsel, Hammons & Sills, about the legality of its health insurance votes. The opinion is expected in two weeks.

- Rejected to pay a $5,000 bill for Cooper's attorney. He hired the attorney without board approval at a rate above the legal limit.



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