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EPSB Executive Committee addresses salaries and other issues

During the Executive Committee of the Evangeline Parish School Board Tuesday evening, Superintendent Darwin Lazard announced the raises proposed by Governor John Bel Edwards have been approved by the Legislature, and certificated employees will be receiving $1,000, and support persons will be receiving $500. The raises will be built into the salary schedule. Lazard said, “We’re very pleased with the outcome of the Legislature.” He said it has been about 10 years since anything came from the state in terms of finances. Lazard said the Evangeline Parish School Board has done something that very few school boards have done in the state of Louisiana. They awarded a $600 pay raise to all of the teachers and also a corresponding percentage to support workers.
In other business, the Board approved the 2019-2020 EPSB salary schedule. Implementation will be effective July 1, 2019. Recommended starting pay for beginning, Level 0 teachers with bachelor’s degrees is $40,000. Pay increments would reach up to $52,600 for a Level 40 teacher with an advanced degree. Other positions paid under this schedule include RN, school-based social worker, speech therapist, occupational therapist, elementary counselor, and PTA.
CFO Amy Lafleur went on to explain the difference in pay for coaches and assistant coaches with and without Commercial Drivers’ Licenses in the salary schedule. She said it is beneficial to have more coaches with CDLs to drive the busses for games. They are proposing a pay incentive for coaches who obtain CDLs. To receive the pay increase, coaches with CDLs must meet a minimum criteria which includes driving for multiple games, jamboree, possible playoffs, and assist with paperwork. Overall, having all the coaches drive busses will save the district money, because they will not have to hire drivers.
Lazard said they want to move high school principals from a 10-month employee to a 12-month employee. They would work an additional two weeks after school ends and an additional two weeks prior to the beginning of school. He said during summer break, there is no administrator on campus. He asked Lafleur to crunch the numbers and see what they can do.
Elementary and middle school principals would move from 10 months to 10 1/2 months. They would work an additional week after school ends, and an additional week prior to the beginning of school. He said it would be beneficial to the schools to help with planning and supervision on campus during the summer months. He said, “Somebody has to get the mail, pay the bills, sign the checks, and do all those things for the school’s operation.”
The assistant principals work a straight nine months like a teacher. They would move to a nine-and-a-half-month employee, working a week after school ends and a week before it begins. “This is a reasonable approach to make sure we have more administrators on campus for the bulk of the summer. That would save us some money because we would no longer have to compensate for those persons when we have to call them back for a meeting or training. It would be part of the time they have on the clock,” said Lazard. Lafleur said, “It is doable and within our financial roles and is very conservative.” The Board approved the motion.
Lazard next proposed a perfect attendance incentive for teachers for the amount of $300 annually for professional allocation, and $135 annually for support allocation. Employees would have to have perfect attendance during the entire fiscal year. No sick days could be used for any reason, including death in the family or personal reasons, etc. Employees would have timesheets for all contracted days. Employees would not have any tardiness on their timesheets. Use of vacation days for applicable employees would not count against an employee. Funds would be paid in July after the close of the fiscal year’s attendance. Lazard said this “is a positive way to encourage attendance. I’m hoping this will impact student learning and student achievement.” The Board approved the motion to accept the proposal.
In other action, the Board considered an adoption of a copier contract with Copy and Camera. Lafleur said the company went out to all of the schools and did evaluations of all the machines they have, and said the school district is still going through the company’s proposal. She said the bulk of the copy machines are still under lease. Lafleur said she needs to do a little more research on the current meter reads and how much volume they are experiencing and compare that with the company’s rates to make sure it is cost effective. She added the district is working with the company with the digitizing of all of their student records. Lafleur said they are done with most of the student records now, and the records will be backed up in the cloud. The Board agreed to table the motion until more information is available.
Mike Lombas, Assistant Superintendent, provided a staffing update. He announced there is one teaching position available. They are looking for a band director for Ville Platte High School. He said he has been doing personnel since 2005, and “this is a very unique year for us, in the fact that we have very little movement in personnel. I think that’s indicative of the fact that our employees are happy.” He said he has a list of applicants he would hire tomorrow but has no place to put them. “We’re the exception right now, not the rule, where across the state many districts are having trouble finding teachers. We’re attracting talent now. Life is good. I’m going to take this as a blessing and take it for what it’s worth.”
All approved actions will go before the full board.

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