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VPSB votes to move forward with termination process of Superintendent Jerome Puyau

Posted at 8:33 PM, Dec 12, 2019

The Vermilion Parish School Board has voted to move forward with the termination process of Superintendent Jerome Puyau.

The board met tonight in a special meeting and voted after just three minutes to enter into executive session to discuss pending litigation in lawsuits regarding Puyau and the school board. That executive session lasted over an hour.

In December of 2018, four VPSB members, who had previously voted to place the superintendent on administrative leave, filed suit for an injunction against Puyau.

Then, in September of this year, Puyau filed a lawsuit of his own against three current VPSB members and one former member, alleging that they violated his civil rights when they successfully moved to put him on administrative leave twice without a hearing.

Both of these items were submitted into tonight's agenda by Board President Laura LeBeouf and both were discussed in executive session.

Finally, the board voted to discuss and take action regarding Superintendent Puyau's employment status. A motion to move forward with the termination process passed by five votes.

Legal representation for the school board stated that "the board wants to begin the process of selecting a new superintendent" and "[end] their relationship with Puyau."

The board decided to begin the required 90-day notice period, and notified Puyau that "his services as superintendent will end on Friday, March 13, 2020."

This is unless there is no final judgment by the state Supreme Court as to the validity of a day-by-day contract agreed upon in January 2018. In that case, Puyau's termination date will be extended.

Many of those who spoke during the public comment portion after the school board's decision expressed frustration at how the board had handled the situation with Superintendent Puyau. One local business owner asked the board directly why they wanted to terminate Puyau, but then said they wouldn't answer, calling them "too coward."

Puyau's attorney responded to the board's attorney, saying that if the board continues to move forward with the termination of Puyau, his advice would be for the Superintendent to sue the school board.

A timeline of events can be viewed below: