Ascension board addresses teacher pay issues

Teachers joining the Ascension Parish school system in the future won’t be compensated as much as their predecessors for holding advanced degrees, but they can make up the difference by being effective in the classroom.

The parish School Board’s Policy Committee on Tuesday discussed the changes to the district’s salary schedule for new hires, a policy that now must focus on experience, demand and effectiveness. The policy changes were mandated by the state Legislature, Superintendent Patrice Pujol said.

The base salary for a first-year teacher with a bachelor’s degree will be $42,411 for nine months with varying increases of $500 to $700 per additional year of experience.

A teacher with 36 years of experience or more would receive an annual salary of $55,711.

Pujol said the theory behind the incremental pay increases — $500 the first five years, $600 the next five, $700 the next 15 and $500 each additional year beyond that — was to serve as a recruitment tool for both new and experienced teachers.

“Early on, before you prove yourself, you get a smaller amount,” she said. “Once you prove yourself, you get a larger amount.”

Teachers can receive an additional $1,000 per year for a master’s degree, $1,200 for a master’s degree plus additional hours, and $1,500 annually for a doctorate. In the past, those figures were much higher, Pujol said. But the new state regulations require that the experience, demand and effectiveness portion of the salary scale remain somewhat equal.

“We shifted big numbers on advanced degrees and put it into performance,” she said.

The teachers also can earn an additional $1,100 per year if their school’s performance scores show significant growth and they are evaluated as either proficient or highly effective.

Other business coming before the board included:

PROJECT BIDS: The board rejected two bids for the second phase of building renovations and parking lot construction at Gonzales Primary School because they came in significantly higher than the $450,000 projected budget.

Chad Lynch, the school district’s director of planning and construction, said district officials believe they can get a lower bid and will open new bids July 1.

PROPERTY SALE: The board approved a second resolution authorizing the sale of the former Lowery Middle School property on La. 1 in Donaldsonville. The district didn’t receive a qualifying bid — set at $560,000, or 80 percent of the appraised value — the first time and must attempt to do so three times before selling to the highest bidder.