St. Landry board agrees to give pay supplements to substitute workers

The St. Landry Parish School Board voted 11-2 Thursday to implement a $1.32 million employee salary supplement that also will go to substitute personnel.

The original proposal from Superintendent Edward Brown in February affected only full-time permanent employees, with each scheduled to receive $542 in May.

Some substitute employees, including bus drivers and cafeteria workers, have been employed by the district for as long as 20 years. The plan passed Thursday gives substitute workers who have been employed by the school district during the 2012-14 school years $271. Those employed only for this school year will receive a $150 supplement.

Following the meeting, personnel director Matthew Scruggins said adding the substitute workers to the supplement list will cost the school system an additional $37,500.

Board member Roger Young, who voted against providing the supplement to substitutes, said the board was “opening a can of worms.”

Young said only full-time permanent workers should be provided with the supplement because those employees sign annual contracts. “This is an election year. I hope this is not a result of that,” Young said.

Board member Milton Ambres said the board was responsible for employing so many substitute workers. “No one created this monster but (the board), by not only hiring subs, but making them full time. You want to tell me they don’t deserve a little bonus like anyone else? We do have the money to pay them,” Ambres said.

Board member Randy Wagley said one reason the district has so many substitutes is it can’t afford to hire them as permanent workers.

Young introduced a motion that would give only full-time permanent workers the pay supplement, but the motion was defeated 9-4.

Voting to include only the full-time employees were Young, Donnie Perron, Candace Gerace and Kyle Boss.

Those voting against were Anthony Standberry, Charles Ross, Ambres, Raymond Cassimere, Huey Wyble, Harry Fruge, Josie Frank,Wagley and Stephen Woods.

Young and Gerace cast the only opposing votes when the board voted on the motion to include the substitute workers.

In another matter, the board approved the low proposal of $217,840 from EVAPCO Inc. to replace the cooling towers at Northwest High in Prairie Ronde.

In March, the board voted to seek bid proposals, rather than bids, after learning that the school’s cooling system was inoperable. The board declared an emergency at the school, enabling the district to accept proposals rather than go through a lengthy bid process.