Lafayette School Board to try to settle two lawsuits

The Lafayette Parish School Board agreed Wednesday to accept its attorney’s recommendation that it try to settle two lawsuits filed by former employees.

The board met in executive session to discuss with its attorney, Jon Guice, a breach of contract lawsuit filed by former administrator Ken Douet and a lawsuit filed by former French teacher Agnes Courville, who claimed the board violated the state’s teacher tenure law when she was fired without notice or a hearing in May.

“I’m going to approach the attorneys on both sides to see if there’s common ground to settle,” Guice said of the lawsuits, both filed in state district court.

In April, Douet filed a lawsuit claiming the board violated his contract when he was displaced from his principal position at N.P. Moss Middle School due to its closure and not appointed to a vacant principal position at the Early College Academy.

Instead, he was appointed a staff development specialist.

In the lawsuit, Douet accused board members of defaming him in discussions related to his job performance in open meetings; however, he later withdrew those claims from the suit.

Douet sued for more than $500,000 in damages and the difference in pay for the ECA principal position.

Douet’s case was set for a bench trial in January, but the trial date was reset for July, according to court records.

Courville, who taught French at Evangeline Elementary until she was terminated in May, filed her lawsuit in November.

In her lawsuit, she requested reinstatement as a tenured teacher with “restoration of all lost time, salary and benefits.”

In court records, Guice had requested that a hearing set for February in the Courville case be continued “to allow us additional time to hopefully reach some amicable resolution of this claim.”