- Associated Press - Friday, June 13, 2014

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - The Lafayette Parish School Board met with Superintendent Pat Cooper to outline the progress members want to see in the school district in the upcoming school year.

The Advocate reports (https://bit.ly/1praWoO ) they discussed on Thursday student test scores, drop-out rates, young students’ readiness for school. They also touched on district funding and the lack of it. The board, which faces a $23 million shortfall in its general fund, hasn’t decided how to close that funding gap.

This was the first meeting Cooper and the board have had to formally outline goals and objectives for the upcoming school year, though Cooper’s contract states he and the board should meet annually to lay out the board’s expectations.

Board members’ evaluation of Cooper is now underway, with individual members’ ratings of his performance due at the June 18 meeting. In Cooper’s initial evaluation last year, board members scored his performance a 4 out of 8. At that same meeting, the board hired an attorney to investigate alleged complaints against Cooper. The board’s investigation stalled and only began earlier this month. Board members have not publicly disclosed what those complaints are, despite Cooper waiving the privacy rights he’s afforded as an employee.

At the start of Thursday’s meeting, board President Hunter Beasley encouraged members to stay focused on goals for the upcoming school year.

“I know we have trouble behind us, but that’s not the purpose of this meeting,” he said.

Cooper said he views the goal-setting exercise as an opportunity to work together with the board to tackle the district’s concerns, particularly the forecasts for continued budget shortfalls.

“We’ve got some big problems here. Whatever issues we have among ourselves . we’ve got to come up with some strategies,” Cooper said.

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Information from: The Advocate, https://theadvocate.com

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