Aug. 6, 2014 04:17 PM
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School board members will meet in executive session during tonight's meeting to discuss a potential federal lawsuit calling for an end to the investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper and the standoff over this year's budget adoption.

 

 
LPSB's Shelton Cobb has called for an executive session to consider ending Cooper investigation and budget stalemate.  

The Lafayette Parish School Board will meet behind closed doors for an executive session during tonight's (Wednesday) meeting to discuss a potential federal lawsuit calling for an end to the investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper and the standoff over this year's budget adoption.

The executive session was requested Tuesday by board member Shelton Cobb shortly after the potential lawsuit was released to board members and the press by attorney Gary McGoffin, who prepared the suit for Cajundome Director/longtime education advocate Greg Davis to stop certain board members' push for Cooper's termination.

According to Wednesday's agenda, Cobb, in addition to calling for the closed-door session, has also offered two resolutions for board consideration, both in response to Davis' unfiled lawsuit: one for an end to the special investigation of Cooper and another for the board to invoke La. Revised Statute 39:1312 and use up to 50 percent of last year's budget, thereby allowing the school system to get by financially until the election of a new board later this year, which would then be charged with passing a budget that doesn't result in a loss of services and massive layoffs as Cooper has repeatedly attempted during this year's adoption process.

According to attorney McGoffin - who's also legal counsel for The IND - the school board has about a week to meet the demands laid out in the suit. And if the board decides to stay the course with its probe of Cooper and its ongoing budget blockade - both issues are part of an attempt by certain members to terminate Cooper - McGoffin says the suit will be filed in federal court calling for a permanent injunction against the board, and will likely result in a preliminary injunction hearing within the next few weeks, meaning evidence will be introduced, witnesses will be questioned and Cooper's supporters will have a chance to lay out the numerous examples of bias - as detailed in the lawsuit - from board members Tehmi Chassion and Mark Allen Babineaux.

Chassion and Babineaux are defendants in the suit.

Over the last two years, Chassion and Babineaux have both developed detailed public records of bias against Cooper, and the lawsuit, if filed, would attempt to have one or both board members eliminated from casting votes on any issue related to the superintendent's employment with the school system.

With the numerous examples of bias listed in the suit, the case against Chassion and Babineaux is strong. Yet if recent history is any indication, the odds of the board's anti-Cooper contingency leaving tonight's executive session ready to give up their pursuit of Cooper's job are slim.

It's very possible that only a federal judge will be able to accomplish such a feat.

For more on this story, click here.

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