Dr. Cooper was scheduled to introduce his amended job description to read "High School Diploma or GED preferred." School board member Tehmi Chassion put in a request to skip the introduction. "I prefer to vote as oppose to waiting two more weeks." The agenda item was moved to the next board meeting for approval.
Those who came to give their comments stayed. The first one up got straight to the point. "When you make that vote I urge you to vote no on changing that job description."
David Fontenot is a school system painter. He admitted to not having earned a high school diploma. Fontenot says he supports Dr. Coopers' wishes to keep Welch on the job - because a hard worker deserves a chance. "I was pulled out of school because I was a said to be an ADHD kid. I gave my heart to the painting business."
A school system employee thanked Welch for improving her school. Lisa Duhon says she too supports the superintendents hiring choice. It's an old school and its rundown. Since he walked onto the campus last year the school is much improved. We appreciate him and his effort," says Duhon.
It is inevitable when one is restructuring a school system a nerve will be hit, business as
usual will be disrupted, and the good ol' boys will be annoyed. The people in the district
and the community who once benefitted from the Lafayette Parish School System
through tactics of power, control, and taking advantage of the materials, equipment,
resources, and political patronage are now officially annoyed and mad. We have hit the
Hiding behind the guise of an omitted word in a job description, for which I, as
Superintendent, take full responsibility, they are coming out full-force to discredit our
efforts. It is important that the citizens of Lafayette know the rest of the story behind the
The man I brought in to help reform facilities, maintenance, custodial, and transportation
operations has no formal degree but he has over 30 years of successful experience. He
can supervise those with degrees because of the experience and type of man he
is…honest, straightforward, hard working. He can stand toe to toe with those reportedly
stealing from the system. He expects everyone to do an honest day's work, regardless of
with whom they are friends or to whom they are related. One of our finest State
Superintendents of Education was Louis Michot. Mr. Michot had no college degree, yet he
supervised thousands of employees, most of whom had college degrees. School board
members are not required to have a high school diploma yet they supervise
superintendents with doctorates. Are they not capable?
The man I brought in replaced two individuals who were responsible for the custodians
and maintenance operations…one made over $120,000 and the other made over
$85,000. My choice, at only $76,000 has saved the taxpayers $130,000 with better job
I arrived a year ago, and I found, in my professional opinion, the most dysfunctional and
dishonest custodial and maintenance operation I have ever seen in my 42 year career
and in some areas an intellectually dishonest central office system. There was a social
club mentality. Employees were not working full shifts, clocking in early, drinking coffee
and charging o to overtime pay, honest employees reporting that others were stealing
resources and using district property, equipment, and vehicles for personal use. We
stopped those practices, fired or offered resignation to those engaging in those
activities, and put in systems to eliminate those practices from continuing.
The public and the school board either want to go back to the appalling practices that
were here before or demand that we: the Superintendent, the guy with no degree, and
the other thousands of good, decent employees of LPSS continue the reform path we
Dr. Pat Cooper, Superintendent