Applause filled the meeting room after the Lafourche Parish School Board unanimously approved a salary increase for all school employees Wednesday night.
After freezing pay for three years, the provision of a step increase for all employees will coincide with the first state-financed raise for teachers and support staff in several years.
Several board members expressed their excitement that the school district’s finance department found space in the budget for the raise, thanking the superintendent and the staff.
“With the state raise and this, it’s not a whole lot, but at least it shows or teachers that we do have their best interest,” said board member Marian Fertitta.
The board also approved the return of a contract day to employees on a 185-plus day contract. It was removed last year as a cost-saving measure and was the equivalent of a pay cut for those employees.
Lafourche Parish Association of Educators President Blake Bogan said the organization stood behind the superintendent’s request to add both the step increase and the contract day to the proposed 2019-20 budget.
“I’m sure they will all greatly appreciate this,” he said of the teachers in the school district.
According to today’s agenda, the step increase will cost about $485,000, and the return of the contract day will cost $81,000.
Once passed, Superintendent Louis Voiron thanked the board for its support and assured them that the school district staff understood the need to remain fiscally responsible and maintain a healthy fund balance.
“We do feel like we’ll be able to hold it going forward,” he said.
While applauding the move, most board members noted that this was just a start on what was needed after freezing pay for three years.
“I look forward to the day that we can catch up on all the past steps because they are so deserving of this and so much more,” board member Tyler Dufrene said.
When Voiron introduced the proposal in May, he said he also hoped to slowly see more counselors added to the elementary schools. The cuts to positions over the past few years meant that there were some schools that shared two counselors to serve 800 to 1,000 students.
A final draft of the 2019-20 budget will not be presented to the Finance Committee until Aug. 21. The budget would then come before the full board for passage on Sept. 1.
Posted on Fri, June 7, 2019
by By Halle Parker Daily Comet Staff Writer