Lafayette School Board Agrees To Mediation Workshop With Superintendent Cooper
This year’s final meeting of the Lafayette Parish School Board focused largely on the political conflict plaguing it. Accusations ranged from defacing a public document to conspiracy theory.
But the Board did agree on some things: to give some school-system employees a one-time bonus in time for the holidays; to cancel its Jan. 1 meeting the for New Year; and to meet with Superintendent Pat Cooper for a special workshop on “professional relationships.”
“Suppose we can agree on one item, and we can all work together and push that one item forward next year and make it a reality,” said District 5 member Kermit Bouillion. “Don’t you think that would be a win-win situation?”
Bouillion encouraged the board to consider the possibilities of such a meeting, and District 8 member Hunter Beasley followed suit. But not all were so optimistic.
Board member Mark Babineaux of District 1 moved in on Cooper, not only to speak out against the workshop, but to condemn the superintendent for encouraging BESE’s Oct. 23 vote in favor of building charter schools in the parish.
“Maybe the legislative auditor might need to look at spending taxpayer money to promote private enterprise,” Babineaux said.
Also up for discussion was the board’s attendance record, as some members face hundreds of dollars in fines for missing too many meetings.
District 4 member Tehmi Chassion defended his colleagues, reminding that board members work other jobs and sometimes can’t attend a special meeting at an odd hour of the day.
Pat Sonnier, a retired teacher who also served as assistant superintendent for the Lafayette Parish School System, said board absences aren’t new. She said the school system did away with committees because of similar schedule conflicts.
The board had 69 meetings — 23 regular and 46 special — in 2013.