Documenter name: James Hiatt
Agency holding meeting: Calcasieu Parish School Board
Date: Tuesday, October 18, 2022
A large part of the discussion centered around supplemental pay for school employees—both teachers and other faculty like bus drivers.
The meeting began at 5:00 p.m. with prayer and the pledge of allegiance. The budget committee reported a current surplus of $3,553,737, resulting in an unassigned fund balance of $41,840,004 or 11.82% of projected revenues. School audits were conducted at several schools; except for LaGrange High there were no significant deficiencies. LaGrange’s deficiencies were provided to the committee in a separate report. (LaGrange was heavily damaged by Hurricane Laura).
The Curriculum and Instruction committee recommended hiring four additional technology positions for helpdesk, networking and repair. Chief Technology Officer Kim LeBlanc requested an additional three employees who can be field technicians and go to schools to pick-up or repair devices on site.
“Teachers don’t even have time to put in tickets for repair, so they wait until they all pile up,” she said. “These positions are necessary because we have added more than 50,000 devices to the network without adding positions in 15 years. It takes our staff almost 11 days to solve issues.” She went on to say that there are currently 30 on staff.
Mr. Tarver said he was a “soft no” on the additional three positions due to “a lot of pay issues across the system.” The board approved seven new positions 14-1, with Mr. Tarver voting no.
The supplemental pay for school employees comes from a dedicated sales tax fund. The School Board had previously approved reserving $20 million for short term funds. The Superintendent and CFO determined $35.52 million was available for supplemental pay for employees. This is the largest supplemental pay since the sales tax was approved and full-time teachers will receive $6,680 gross while all other full-time employees will receive $4,675 gross. Part-time employees, such as bus drivers, will receive half of the non-teacher full-time supplement.
Several bus drivers spoke at the meeting. “We all are paying the additional sales tax, but we are not receiving much for it,” said Ms. Broussard, a school bus driver since 1984. “Without us, teachers would have no-one to teach. There are 60 bus routes that are currently not filled. We can’t stay at the bottom forever.”
Several speakers asked for the supplemental checks to be separate from the regular payroll check due to the increased taxes that would be taken out. There was a brief discussion between the board concerning allowing the supplemental income to be placed on a separate check, but for this year the supplemental pay will be added to the regular payroll check on October 31.
The supplemental pay, as well as the other four items under Take Appropriate Action, (agenda item 9) were approved 14-1, with Mr. Hardy voting no.
The permission to advertise for bids for Barbe High baseball field returfing was approved 14-1, with Mr. Hardy voting no. The funding for the returfing will not come from CPSB funds, but rather from the non-profit Bucaneer Baseball, Inc and the SWLA Convention and Visitors Bureau. There was some brief discussion on where Bucaneer Baseball, Inc had received their funding.