LAFAYETTE — Former Lafayette Parish Schools Superintendent Pat Cooper has asked a judge to reverse the School Board’s decision to fire him and give him his job back.
Cooper claims wrongful termination in his petition for an appeal.
The petition, dated Tuesday, was mailed to the Lafayette Parish Clerk of Court but had not yet been filed as of Wednesday afternoon. Cooper released a copy of the petition to The Acadiana Advocate and other local media outlets on Wednesday.
In the event he’s not reinstated, Cooper asks that he be paid for the remainder of his contract, which was set to end on Dec. 31, 2015.
The School Board voted 7-2 to fire Cooper following a two-day hearing on Nov. 6. In the petition, Cooper claims wrongful termination and that the board fired him “despite appropriate and good performance, for reasons not complying with the law.”
He also claims he was not dismissed for cause but rather “was terminated in an arbitrary and capricious fashion for political reasons and reasons of vindictiveness, none of which comply with the law.”
The board held the two-day hearing to consider charges against Cooper related to his personnel and management decisions and an evaluation of his job performance.
Cooper’s appeal isn’t surprising since he and his attorney, Lane Roy frequently told board members that they planned to file suit if the board opted to terminate him.
During Cooper’s Nov. 6 hearing, the board also voted 7-2 in agreement that there was enough evidence to fire Cooper based on his decisions related to the continual employment and payment of Thad Welch, a special assistant to the superintendent over maintenance, grounds, transportation and facilities; the payment of some principals at a different rate of pay than the board-approved salary schedule; and the payment of Roy’s $5,100 legal bill for advising Cooper last year.
Cooper also faced a charge of unworthiness related to his score on his job evaluation this year. However, that charge failed in a 5-4 vote because at least six votes were needed for the charge to stick as a cause for his termination.
Follow Marsha Sills on Twitter, @Marsha_Sills.