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Sunday, July 14, 2019

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Lafourche School Board reduces member pay

Lafourche School Board reduces member pay

The Lafourche Parish School Board on Wednesday cut its members’ monthly compensation to save $72,000 a year.

The vote was 13-2 with Ray Bernard and Marian Fertitta dissenting.

The members agreed to reduce their compensation from $800 to $400 and the president’s pay from $900 to $500.

Collectively, the School Board members are paid $145,200 a year. When the new compensation goes into effect for the next board, the members will collectively make $73,200, which results in savings of $72,000 annually.

Fertitta says she’s against the timing of reduction because members are nearing the end of their terms.

“We’ve had multiple chances to reduce this board,” said Fertitta. “I just think it’s not fair to the new, incoming people on the board, and I don’t think we should be making a decision that is going to affect them.”

According to board members, any reduction in compensation can’t immediately go into effect. However, School Board members can vote to increase their pay immediately. This means the current board has effectively reduced the compensation for the next board, while the future board members have the power to immediately raise their compensation.

“I’m in favor of this reduction,” said Robby Gisclair, who is running for the District 12 seat. “The timing of it leaves me to wonder the true reason. Is it about the kids? While we are discussing reduction of stipends, I think we should eliminate all benefits, especially health insurance. This is not a full-time job. The board has still yet to put a drop in the bucket.”

Al Carter said some School Board members give a portion of their stipend back to the schools, while others donate the money to charities.

“When I signed up to run for the School Board, it was to benefit the kids,” said Carter, who is a candidate for the District 3 seat. “It really doesn’t matter how much the stipend is. It’s not about the money, it’s about Lafourche Parish and the kids.”

-- Daily Comet Staff Writer Scott McLendon can reached at 857-2204 or Follow on Twitter @mclendon_b