Lafayette Board Requests Legislative Audit Of Cooper’s Questioned Practices
The state’s Legislative Auditor could soon be involved in the Lafayette Parish School Board’s investigation into Superintendent Pat Cooper.
The board on Wednesday voted to request a review from the auditor’s office into financial concerns raised by Attorney Dennis Blunt’s investigation into the superintendent.
Blunt says Cooper violated state law through certain personnel and salary decisions that weren’t approved by the board. Cooper maintains he was acting according to Act 1, which transfers powers involving personnel issues to the superintendent.
Any board member that reviews the report in preparation or advance of the hearing could theoretically be the subject of a motion to be recused
In other board business, the full investigative report on Cooper will remain under wraps for now.
Board attorney Bob Hammonds says although the documents comprising attorney Dennis Blunt’s investigation are public record, they’re not disclosable, and it could compromise Cooper’s hearing if they’re distributed to the board.
"Any board member that reviews the report in preparation or advance of the hearing could theoretically be the subject of a motion to be recused, based on having previous knowledge of the facts that are contained in the report," Hammonds said.
Board member Shelton Cobb again requested the full report at Wednesday’s board meeting. But Hammonds said all attorneys involved agreed only information presented at Cooper’s hearing should be considered.
Also on Wednesday, the board turned down turned down an emergency proposal to drop the requirement for bus drivers to have a high school diploma, a request Cooper says could have made it easier to hire drivers in a district with overcrowded buses.
It’s the second year in a row the board has denied the request.
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