Former City Schools super still on payroll

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By Gabriel Poblete

Though Kelt Cooper is no longer the superintendent for Las Vegas City Schools, he’ll still be paid through the end of the school year.

According to a letter signed by Board President Dennis Romero that was acquired by the Optic through an open-records request, Cooper will remain on paid administrative leave through 5 p.m. on June 30. Cooper submitted a letter of resignation on Jan. 26 and the district’s board of education accepted it on Feb. 4.

Hired in May 2016, Cooper had been under contract through the 2020-21 school year. His annual salary was $110,000; dollar figures are not mentioned in the board's letter.

According to the terms of the agreement, if Cooper were to be hired presumably by another school district, he must immediately, or as soon as possible, notify the board president of his new employment, and City Schools will immediately cease paying him upon the start date of his new employment.

Cooper must also come to the administrative offices with two working days’ notice as deemed necessary to the board president of City Schools to assist and or consult with the acting superintendent regarding pending administrative matters.

Cooper was placed on paid leave back in November. Hours later, he allegedly driving his pickup truck Friday evening when it crashed it into a resident's fence near his Sapello home.

Cooper, a Las Cruces native, came to Las Vegas after a stint as the superintendent of Consolidated School District of New Britain, Conn. — a district of about 11,000 students. He often spoke about having been through all the security and other measeures taken after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting took place in the region while he was there.

He also had prior superintendent experience at school districts in Arizona, Texas, and, in New Mexico, Questa Independent Schools.

After being selected as the district’s next superintendent, Cooper said the opportunity was "a godsend." He said he was happy to be offered the job because he would be within driving distance of his children and grandchildren.

Current Superintendent Larryssa Archuleta had stepped in as interim superintendent, having only been offered to fill the position on a permanent basis last month. She and the City Schools have not reached an exact agreement on the terms of her employment.

Board Chairman Dennis Romero said he could not speak to why Cooper was placed on leave, nor could he speak as to whether the board had any advance knowledge of any conditions or situations that led to Cooper's leave and eventual resignation.

Cooper also did not comment on his agreement with the district.