School Board considers extra $9 million

Superintendent Bernard Taylor has suggested that the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board spend about half of an unexpected windfall of $9 million on pay increases and temporarily unfreezing the district’s salary schedule.

The extra money is the result of recent court and legislative actions and will become part of the district’s $426.6 million budget the School Board is considering.

The board will hold at least one and maybe more workshops to discuss how to spend the money.

Taylor told the board Thursday that a portion of the money would be used for salary increases for certificated staff.

He also suggested that some of the money be used to unfreeze the salary schedules for all employees for one year, and to offer classroom teachers a one-time $500 supplement.

That would leave the School Board with $4.3 million, Taylor told the board.

Instead of voting on a general fund budget at Thursday’s board meeting, the decision was made to postpone the vote to give the board, teacher associations and the public time to discuss how the additional money should be spent, Taylor said.

“We have until mid-September to formulate and pass an operating budget,” he said.

Taylor also suggested at least one other public forum be held to address specific questions on the budget and provide general information about the budget process.

Taylor said he’s had a number of good questions from the public, but they sometimes misunderstand and misinterpret information about the budget that could be addressed through a “budget 101” type of public session.

“We can clear up some of the misunderstandings,” Taylor said.

One item that keeps coming up in questions is people believing there are large pay raises going to some employees and not to others.

Taylor said he’d like to hold a morning session and an afternoon session for the public forum and announce the dates and times soon.

“So those who have questions about the budget can get them answered,” Taylor said.