By Seth Hulin, Special to KPEL

The Lafayette Parish School Board is still dealing with the fallout of the charges levied against former Superintendent Pat Cooper.

At its Nov. 19 meeting, the board unanimously voted to pay Blackwell & Associates the total court costs of $13,256.54 associated with a suit filed against three of the board members by Cooper.

The original suit was filed against Dr. Tehmi Chassion, Mark Babinineaux, and board president Dr. Hunter Beasley in early October. In it, Cooper claimed that these board members showed a bias against him and should have beeen barred from voting on any termination hearings involving him. This vote has no bearing on the lawsuit filed by Cooper on Wednesday claiming wrongful termination.

The board also addressed interim superintendent Burnell LeJuene's salary, which was approved at $150,000. That salary is based on a middle ground between Cooper's salary and the LeJeune's. The board also approved a $700 a month car allowance, as well as a $160 a month cell phone allowance, provisions that were included in Cooper's contract.

LeJeune said the salary package was “fair,” and the board voted 9-0 to move the item to action.

The board also moved to implement the budget they approved on Sept. 15. Cooper refused to implement that budget because of concerns it violated state law.

There were two amendments to the budget included. First, that excess expenses would be included as additional expenditures. Second, that the staffing cuts that have been looming over the board’s head for months be allowed to be deferred until Dec. 31. The motion passed 6-2. However, district four representative Dr. Tehmi Chassion is worried that this will simply be continuing the overspending of the previous regime.

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