OPELOUSAS — The resignation of a school principal on paid administrative leave since his 2010 arrest on felony theft charges, was accepted in a 9-2 vote by the St. Landry Parish School Board on Wednesday, prior to a scheduled employee tenure hearing.
Charles Moore was principal of Grand Prairie Elementary at the time he was booked on charges of theft over $500 and the alleged misuse of several thousand dollars in school funds for unauthorized purposes.
He told the School Board he was “between a rock and a hard place,” due to having to testify at Wednesday’s hearing before facing criminal proceedings in the matter.
Moore also suggested he was facing racial politics by the board.
Board attorney Gerard Caswell declined to specify the charges against Moore that would have required sworn testimony at the tenure hearing.
“It is part of the agreement with Mr. Moore that I would not talk about any (school district) charges,” Caswell said in an interview after the meeting.
The decision to resign came after a 10-minute recess in which Moore and Caswell conferred privately.
Moore, however, was allowed to address the board briefly as part of his agreement to resign.
“I feel like I have nothing to fight with and that I’m in way over my head. It seems this parish operates a dual system, with one set of rules for blacks and different rules for whites,” said Moore, who is black.
Moore also told the board that he thought that by this time he would have had an opportunity to have the issue decided in criminal court, but that has not happened.
Superintendent Michael Nassif, who brought the unspecified charges against Moore at the tenure hearing, did not answer Moore’s accusations in Moore’s statement to the board.
In an interview after the meeting, Moore said his decision to resign is probably in his best interest.
“I’m 60 years old, and what kind of chances would I have had to get another job (in education)? So, I chose to resign,” he said.
Voting to accept Moore’s resignation were Anthony Standberry, Charles Ross, Raymond Cassimere, Candace Gerace, Kyle Boss, Scott Richard, Roger Young, Josie Frank and Harry Fruge.
John Miller and Quincy Richard voted against accepting Moore’s resignation.