After a short, rocky tenure as superintendent of Lafayette Parish public schools marked by frequent rancor with the board, termination last fall and a short trial on the merits of his civil suit against the board for wrongful termination, the Pat Cooper era — or error, as many in Lafayette would have it — has finally come to an end. A Lafayette district court judge ruled Tuesday afternoon that the board had cause to fire Cooper, namely for Cooper’s decision to go against the board’s salary schedule for principals and pay some principals at low-performing schools a higher salary by having them work more hours.
Cooper, however, didn’t walk away from the Lafayette Parish Courthouse without some vindication, with Judge Rick Michot siding with Cooper on three of the four charges the board used in canning him. Cooper told The Advocate shortly after the trial concluded that his case will serve as a precedent in helping clarify the authority of superintendents granted in Act I, the sweeping school reform package passed by the Legislature in 2012.
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