The Lafayette Parish School Board is one step closer to filing charges against its superintendent.

Special board-hired attorney Dennis Blunt presented his investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper at a special meeting Thursday.

“The superintendent has a different thought with regard to the law concerning his ability to spend under the budget,” Blunt said.

Blunt’s report alleges Cooper broke state law on multiple occasions — primarily through personnel matters — by spending public funds without board approval, including through the continued employment of a special assistant rejected by the board and hiring a private attorney to defend himself against the board before formal charges have been filed.

The superintendent has a different thought with regard to the law concerning his ability to spend under the budget

Said attorney, Lane Roy, disputed Blunt's findings, alleging much of the dispute comes from different interpretations of Act 1 and board policy, which he said hasn't been updated to reflect the new law.

"(Act 1) was specifically passed to take power away from the board members other than general supervision of education in the local districts,” Roy said.

Cooper has maintained his actions are protected under Act 1. Blunt said that's only the case in some instances.

Now the board has voted 6-3 for Blunt to prepare formal charges consistent with his findings. It will vote next on whether to accept all or some of those charges, after which Cooper would be subject to a hearing before the board and possible reprimanding, including termination.

Board members Shelton Cobb, Kermit Bouillion and Mark Cockerham voted against preparing the charges.