EPSB approves pay raises for employees parish-wide

For the first time in nearly 10 years, Evangeline Parish School District employees will be getting a pay raise effective July 1, 2018.
The school board approved the raise after Evangeline Parish Superintendent of Schools Darwan Lazard requested a $600 pay increase for certificated employees and a $270 raise for support personnel during the board’s meeting on Wednesday.
The raise for support personnel was determined by giving them 45 percent of what certificated employees will receive, which is the same formula used for sales tax distributions.
At the meeting, Lazard said, “Public education continues to face many challenges. Employees are asked to do more with less and, over the years, have taken-on more duties and responsibilities.”
Even though the fiscal year has not closed and the state’s budget has yet to be finalized, Lazard said this “pay adjustment is warranted.”
“Regardless of a surplus or deficit for the 2017-2018 school year, we believe that a pay adjustment is warranted,” said Lazard. “Especially since the last local pay increase was given in 2001 with the passage of the sales tax dedicated for employee salaries.”
The superintendent also shared that “while the state and locally funded one-time salary supplements were issued in the last few years, the last state raise for certificated and support employees was given in the 2008-09 school year.”
Lazard went on to say that “as a district we have remained competitive academically when compared to our neighboring school districts and comparable-sized districts in our state; however we have not remained competitive in our salaries. This proposal is an important first-step in the process to improve salaries for our workforce.”
In addition to the increase provided by the school district, the superintendent shared that the employees will also receive their annually scheduled level adjustment, which results in an additional $300, will still be given. This means, teachers who will be receiving a level adjustment this year will have a salary increase of $900.
The pay increase that is being provided by the school district, according to the district’s chief financial officer, Amy LaFleur, now means that the pay for a teacher just starting out in Evangeline Parish has increased from $38,200 to $38,800.
During the meeting, the school board also approved the policy committee’s decision to implement a parish-wide dress out uniform for physical education classes. This policy will become effective next school year.
Board members also approved a policy on Wednesday that will require every student to have a clear plastic or mesh book-sack.
According to board president Wayne Dardeau, clear book-sacks are now being required “strictly for safety reasons.”
Dardeau said, “This is strictly for the safety of the students and employees in our schools.”
The superintendent plans to work with local vendors to ensure that they can have plenty of these types of book-sacks available in stores. There will be some leniency if a parent is unable to purchase a clear or mesh book-sack, but only for the 2018-2019 school year.
Board member Joey Limoges said, “Hopefully after this upcoming school year, everyone will be in compliance with this policy for the next school year (2019-2020).”
Other items approved were:
Acceptance of the low price quote from Flynn Building Special Ties, Inc. in the amount of $7,220 for restroom partitions at James Stephens Montessori.

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