After months of clamoring for Superintendent Pat Cooper's job, the LPSB will get its chance this afternoon to get the ball rolling with a special meeting at 2:30 p.m.
After months of clamoring for Superintendent Pat Cooper's job, the Lafayette Parish School Board will get its chance this afternoon [Thursday] to get the ball rolling with a special meeting at 2:30 p.m.
The board, according to its agenda, will vote on a resolution "approving charges, authorizing the hiring of experts and scheduling hearing for superintendent."
Another resolution up for consideration will allow the board to hire a hearing officer to assist in the proceedings. If approved, Cooper would then have 20 days to prepare for the hearing.
Also at play is a federal lawsuit filed by Cajundome Director and longtime public education advocate Greg Davis calling for the disqualification of board members Tehmi Chassion and Mark Allen Babineaux from voting on Cooper's termination. The suit alleges a history of bias by both board members toward the superintendent. The board's attorney, Bob Hammonds, filed a motion for the lawsuit's dismissal, and a hearing on the issue is slated for Friday.
A response to Hammonds' motion was submitted by Davis' attorney, Gary McGoffin, which extensively outlines the reasons why Davis has every right to raise the issue in the federal court system. McGoffin's response details Davis' role over the last few decades, including his time as a student leader at Northside High School during desegregation and his involvement 30 years later on a Desegregation Task Force created by the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce to help guide the system toward unitary status. Over the years, Davis has been an advocate for the disadvantaged districts of the school system, and still resides in one of those districts, as do his grandchildren, who attend those disadvantaged schools.
According to McGoffin's response:
Mr. Davis has repeatedly answered the call of the Lafayette Parish School System and has stood with it and its School Board members for the benefit of all the children and the community as a whole. This Complaint is a good example of that spirit. Why should the embattled Superintendent have the sole responsibility or exclusive standing to contest the bias of two specific board members when that bias has such a direct consequence on all and personally to Mr. Davis, his family, and his home?