The Lafayette Parish School Board has to consider covering legal debts that have recently diminished the school system’s 2015-16 legal fee budget.

The  board will vote at the Feb. 7 meeting to approve a $200,000 budget revision that the Lafayette Parish School System staff that would cover legal fees incurred from June through December. Legal fees are still owed to law firms for expenses from October and November of last year.

"The amount basically takes care of all of our general counsel needs, or should, through June," said Chief Financial Officer Billy Guidry. "It also takes care of our response to lawsuit filed by the former superintendent (Pat Cooper). Should there be further action required to be taken, we would have to come back and request additional funds."

If the $200,000 is adequate, and no additional legal fees are needed to be paid by the end of the school year, the 2015-16 total for legal fees would total near $375,000 which represents a more than 200 percent increase over the same fees over the previous school year. Guidry informed the board that approximately 75 percent of the $375,000 in fees would have been incurred from the Cooper lawsuit.

Even with the additional $200,000, should further action need to be taken with Cooper’s lawsuit, the board would have to once again be asked to offer more money to cover those future legal fees.

To ease some of the concern of the legal debts, Guidry said the payments are usually in arrears by one to two months because of filing procedures.