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LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Three state officials are on the witness list of former Lafayette Parish Superintendent Pat Cooper, who sued after his firing in 2014.
Cooper's wrongful termination lawsuit against the Lafayette Parish School Board is scheduled for trial Sept. 21 before District Judge Patrick Michot, barring a settlement.
The Advertiser reports (http://bit.ly/1MIOdQL) Cooper's witness list includes State Education Superintendent John White, State Sen. Elbert Guillory and State Rep. Steve Carter, according to court documents filed by Cooper's attorney, Lane Roy.
The board fired Cooper in November 2014 following months of strife over personnel and budget issues. A board-ordered investigation found that Cooper violated board policy and state law in many decisions.
Cooper filed the lawsuit soon after, asking a judge to either reinstate him to his former job, or pay him the remainder of his contract. Cooper had about a year left on his contract, and was being paid $190,000 per year.
White will testify about the state-mandated duties of school superintendents, "and the fact that Superintendent Cooper was in constant contact with the Department of Education regarding what his rights and obligations were," according to Roy's memo.
Guillory and Carter would testify about the 2012 Louisiana law that outlined the roles of superintendents and school boards. That law was at the center of many disputes between Cooper and the board. Guillory has served as chair of the Senate Education Committee, while Carter has been the chair of the House Education Committee.
Attorneys for the school board have long contended that Cooper's firing complied with all state laws and regulations, and that the board did nothing wrong in its decision.
Seven of the nine current board members took office in January, and thus were not in place at the time of Cooper's firing. The only members remaining from November are Tehmi Chassion and Board President Tommy Angelle.
The board appointed Donald Aguillard as the new superintendent in May.
Information from: The Advertiser, http://www.theadvertiser.com