Tangipahoa School Board approves teacher salaries

The Tangipahoa Parish School Board on Tuesday approved a 2013-14 salary schedule that puts the school system in compliance with new education laws passed during the 2012 legislative session.

Under the new schedule, base teacher salaries begin at $41,000 for teachers with bachelor’s degrees and max out at $52,498 for the 28th and final step. Teachers with doctorates start at $44,100 and max out at $57,597.

The updated schedule also calls for stipends for teachers based on their effectiveness rating.

Teachers working under the value-added model will receive $200 for a rating of highly effective, $150 for effective proficient, and $50 for effective emerging.

For student learning target teachers, the stipends are $150, $100 and $50, respectively.

The state law, known as Act 1, dictates salary schedules for public school teachers based on effectiveness, demand and experience, as well as dictating minimum requirements for teacher tenure, or job protection.

Kevin Crovetto, president of the Tangipahoa Federation of Teachers, applauded the salary schedule, saying it eliminates a three-year plateau in pay and maintains increased compensation for teachers with advanced degrees.

“We thank you for believing in it and continuing that belief in advanced degrees,” Crovetto told the board.

Karen Bell, president of the Tangipahoa Association of Educators, assailed the salary schedule, saying it would cause certified teachers to leave the parish for a better pay schedule.

Bell said only teachers on the first three tiers of the schedule will earn step increases. She criticized the difference between the pay for advanced degrees, saying it’s not enough to offset the cost of getting a higher degree.

She also said there is a “great disparity” in the stipends for value-added model teachers and student learning target teachers.

“This is a complete travesty to the teachers of this parish,” Bell board members.

In other business:

BUDGET MATTERS: The School Board also approved a 2013-14 operating budget that projects the parish school system will operate with about a $900,000 deficit for the upcoming school year.

The school system will bring in roughly $136 million in revenues from state, federal and local sources, in addition to about $2.4 million from other sources.

The system budgeted about $139 million in expenditures.

The school system was facing a projected $9.6 million deficit for the 2013-2014 school year but reduced it thanks in part to a rededicated 1-cent sales tax that brings in about $17.2 million annually, along with taking about $1.3 million out of the board’s reserve money.