The 15th district judicial court has to decide how much the Lafayette Parish School System will have to pay Former Superintendent Dr. Pat Cooper in damages. This comes after a decision made by the 3rd circuit court of appeals siding with Cooper in his wrongful termination lawsuit against LPSS.
“I couldn’t be happier because the ruling was 100 percent in my favor,” said Dr. Pat Cooper.
Its been a long road for Cooper since being fired by the Lafayette Parish School Board in the middle of his 3-year-contract in November of 20-14.
“I think it finally got to a point where the judges were able to put all of the information in front of them and see what was going on,” he said.
LPSB gave 4 reasons for letting Cooper go, 3 of which were rejected by the district court and one which was upheld. That charge concerned principal’s salaries, claiming cooper hired principals giving them salaries higher than the cap that the board had previously provided.
“There were 7 vindictive members of the board, by their actions who attempted to ruin my reputation for no reason. I worked 45 years for that reputation. I forgive them but it will never be forgotten by me or the people of Lafayette,” Cooper explained.
After being denied a new trial, he brought it to the appellate court. The court re-visited all four charges, agreeing with the district court’s decision on the first 3 and overturning their decision on the fourth. Act one, a law enacted back in 2012, transfers certain powers to superintendents originally held by the school board. This is the law the court made its decision on.
“This case is likely going to cost taxpayers about 500,000 dollars. That’s a half a million dollars just because Tommy Angelle and his gang of bullies refused to follow the law,” he added.
The court of appeals is passing the torch back to the district courts to consider the cost of damages. Cooper says it wasn’t just him who has been affected.
“Justice has been served for me personally, but it was such an injustice what that school board did to the citizens and children of Lafayette,” he added.
We spoke with Lafayette Parish School Board representatives who say they won’t be making any comment at this time.