School Board asked to disclose specific charges in superintendent probe

School Board hired attorney to investigate Superintendent Cooper

The three Lafayette Parish School Board members who do not support an investigation of Superintendent Pat Cooper have asked their fellow members to give their reasons for hiring an attorney to lead the inquiry into allegations against him.

In their request, board members Shelton Cobb, Kermit Bouillion and Mark Cockerham ask board members to disclose the charges they want an attorney to investigate, which they say is required by a state law related to special counsel resolutions.

The resolution passed muster with the Attorney General’s Office, which gave its approval on May 13, about a week after the board approved and submitted it to the state office for review.

The board’s request to hire special counsel for an investigation of Cooper’s management decisions and arguments against it aren’t new.

Cooper contested the board’s initial resolution, approved by the board in July, for several reasons, among them that it had no specific reasons to launch an investigation.

That resolution’s approval was delayed because it wasn’t immediately sent to the Attorney General’s Office for review, then was stonewalled in late October after then-general counsel Assistant District Attorney Roger Hamilton Jr. told the Attorney General’s Office that there was no cause for the investigation.

Hamilton — and the District Attorney’s Office — was relieved as general counsel in November and an interim counsel was not named until March. The board’s special counsel resolution was approved in April at the request of interim counsel. However, the attorney hired for the investigation withdrew about a week after submitting a public records request to Cooper’s office. The attorney cited time conflicts.

In other business, on Wednesday, the board will review a charter school application from Kingdom Builders Community Development Corporation, which applied to open a career and technical high school in the district.

School staff recommends that the board deny the application, according to the agenda.

To view the full agenda, visit esb.lpssonline.com.

Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.