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Lafayette School Board Postpones Pat Cooper Evaluation, Thad Welch Salary In Question Again

Lafayette Parish School System
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LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) — The Lafayette Parish School Board chose to defer its evaluation of Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper until its next regular meeting, saying it was still waiting for an evaluation form from one board member in particular.

The identity of that lone board member was not revealed, but board Vice-President Dr. Hunter Beasley said all other evaluation forms had been received and sealed.

Cooper had originally elected to have his evaluation take place in a closed session, but according to KATC TV-3, he changed his mind, electing to have his evaluation take place in public.

Cooper will now be evaluated at the school board’s next regularly scheduled meeting on July 17.

THAD WELCH SALARY ISSUE RESURFACES

Board members learned Wednesday night that the salary of Cooper’s special assistant, Thad Welch, was continuing to be paid through the “global salary pool,” according to Cooper. Chief Financial Officer Billy Guidry said money for Welch’s salary was being pulled at the direction of Cooper from funds left over from teacher retirements and resignations.

The discovery was made after questioning from district 4 board member Tehmi Chassion regarding a budget revision for the current fiscal year. That revision showed the elimination of Welch’s salary, but Guidry suggested that salary was still being budgeted as an expense.

District 1 board member Mark Babineaux suggested using such leftover money to pay for the salaries of assistant principals and guidance counselors whose positions face elimination under the 2013-14 proposed budget. Guidry cautioned against that, though, saying such a move would create an expense for the following school year, making it harder to produce a balanced budget.

The board ultimately voted 5-3 to approve the budget revision.

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