Vermilion Parish School Board discussed the budget for the general and special revenue funds for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal year.
State law requires that the board adopt a budget by September 15. That motion was approved.
Other topics on the agenda were the Attorney General’s lawsuit and reaction from board members about Superintendent Puyau.
According to Board President Stacy Landry, the Attorney General’s lawsuit was covered by the Vermilion Parish School Board’s insurance policy and they will pay up to $150,000 for legal fees.
Landry says, “What this motion says is that the board will limit those fees to $150,000 and not incur expenses over that.”
The motion to limit the obligation of payment for the legal fees and/or expenses incurred within the Attorney General’s lawsuit failed with a 4-4 vote between board members.
Kibbie Pillette, board member for District F, says, “Let the judge decide on the case based on where we are, so therefore we are breaking no laws with this motion.”
Board members also reacted to the decision to place Superintendent Jerome Puyau on paid administrative leave.
“Everybody who had a complaint against the way they were treated by the superintendent was supposed to make contact with us and let us know,” Pillette adds. “Then we were supposed to have a third-party investigator to go out and investigate every one of those complaints.”
Dr. David Dupuis, board member for District A, explains, “We do need an outside investigator and when you’re going to tell employees that no you don’t have a voice I’m sorry you’ve violated their First Amendment rights and I’m sorry, I’m very very adamant about this.”
“We needed some deliberate planning on the proper way for both the rights of the individual that had an issue and the rights of the superintendent to defend that and we are sitting where we are now because we voted to put him on leave,” says Jean Broussard, board member representing District E.
Towards the end of the meeting tonight, Acting and Assistant Superintendent Paul Hebert said that the guidance that he has received from council is that Jerome Puyau is still the official superintendent and has the authority to make the decisions that the superintendent makes.”