LAFAYETTE — The local attorney who is challenging Lafayette Parish School Board District 7 incumbent Mark Cockerham in the Nov. 4 election joined a lawsuit Friday that claims Cockerham resides out of his district and should step down from his School Board seat.
Attorney Dawn Morris and Cockerham are the two candidates in the District 7 race. Last week, former Lafayette Parish School System administrator Nancy Cech filed a lawsuit in district court that challenged Cockerham’s residency in District 7 based on current district maps.
On Friday, Morris said she filed court documents to be added as a plaintiff to Cech’s lawsuit. Cech had filed the lawsuit on her own. The two plaintiffs are represented by attorney Bill Goode.
Following the 2010 census, the School Board redrew some of its districts due to population growth in the parish. The board voted to accept new maps in 2012, although the new maps do not go into effect until 2015. Candidates running in board races for the Nov. 4 election qualify under the new maps.
Cockerham moved from his residence on Kaliste Saloom Road and now lives on Breemen Circle — which is in District 7 on the new map. However, based on the map that is still in effect for Cockerham’s remaining term on the board, Breemen Circle is in District 9.
In response to Cech’s lawsuit earlier this week, Cockerham said he checked with the School Board office and the Clerk of Court’s Office prior to his move to ensure he would still be living in District 7.
In court records filed earlier this week, Cockerham disputed the District 7 boundary claims and asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit.
On Friday, Cockerham said he wasn’t surprised Morris joined the suit, adding that he has no intention of giving up his seat.
“It will take a judge to tell me to step down,” he said.
Morris deferred comment to Goode, the attorney, who declined to comment on the attempt to disqualify Cockerham from representing District 7.
Morris lives in District 7, based on both the current school district map and the one that takes effect in 2015.
The lawsuit claims that Cockerham should vacate his seat effective Aug. 20 — the date he filed for candidacy for the Nov. 4 election with the Breemen Circle address.
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.