LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Former Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper says he is still waiting for his $700K payment, five years after winning a lawsuit against the school district.
“Most people thought after I won the case that was pretty well publicized that the Lafayette School Board would pay me. But, in fact, for whatever reason they did not. And it has continued to generate interest to the tune of about one hundred and forty thousand dollars. And that’s coming out of tax payer money, not insurance because they chose not to use their insurance company when I first filed suit.”
Cooper served as superintendent from 2012 to 2014.
When a new law, ACT 1, was introduced in 2014 more power was given to superintendents regarding budgets and personnel and Cooper was the first superintendent to embrace the new law, leading to push-back from the school board.
He was fired in November, 2014 and filed a lawsuit against the school board.
“Act 1 was a bill in the legislature that essentially switched the powers from the board to the superintendent. I was the first superintendent to actually exercise those powers. I got fired after a lot of internal strike as we struggled to decide how we are going to work out this new law. I chose to follow the law as it was stated in the legislature then I got fired.”
The lawsuit would lead to a multiyear legal battle, ending in favor of Cooper in 2017. However, the school board did not pay the money owed to Dr. Cooper
“The ruling was put down, I won the case. I should have for at least that salary and the benefits. The school board refused to do that and now this has carried on for about five more years.”
Cooper says he spoke to News Ten today, not out of bitterness but with hopes to put this situation to rest.
“There’s no vendettas here, it’s just business at this point. So all I’m asking now is that they make the payment. I feel like the public has not known for every day that goes by that’s more of a tax liability for them. And I know everyone just wants to get this behind us, I know I do. I have no bitterness and no ulterior motive other than I would like to get this over with and get this out of the way so I can start my life again.”