Lafayette School Board to tackle pay supplements

Amount, recipients under discussion

Some Lafayette Parish School System employees will receive a one-time supplemental paycheck in the new year, but the School Board is still working out details such as which employees and the amount of their checks.

Eligible teachers could receive a one-time supplemental check of up to $472.50, while the one-time supplemental paycheck for support workers could be $559.13 or $416.25, depending on how many the board decides would be eligible.

The supplemental pay for teachers comes from $2.4 million in one-time money approved by the Legislature in lieu of a 2.75 percent increase to the formula used to dole out funding to school districts, said Billy Guidry, district chief financial officer. The one-time funding came with a mandate that half of the appropriation be used for teacher salaries, Guidry said.

The board decided to match the funding increase available for teachers — $1.2 million — to provide a one-time bonus for its support workers. The money for the support worker increase is funded by excess sales tax revenue.

While state policies lay out who is eligible for the one-time pay boost for teachers, the School Board has the discretion on which categories of support workers will receive a pay boost.

At the Dec. 4 board meeting, Guidry proposed two support employee options: only hourly support employees for a check of $559.13 each or both hourly and salaried employees with a check of $416.25 each.

The hourly support employee job categories include a range of positions, from clerical assistants and bus attendants to entry-level carpenters and cafeteria workers.

The salaried support positions include both academic and non-academic related positions, such as counselors, nurses, assistant principals, principals and other system directors or supervisors — unintended recipients of the one-time increase, some board members told Guidry during the Dec. 4 board meeting.

“Those of you who are directors, I know you’ve got a hard job,” board member Hunter Beasley said at the meeting. “You do a good job … but I’m also looking at the custodian … who is barely making ends meet.”

At the meeting, board member Rae Trahan proposed setting a salary limit at $30,000 or another amount.

“That way this money will absolutely be directed to those in most need … rather than high-dollar positions,” she said.

Guidry said he’ll present the board with an updated list that includes job positions of $30,000 or less for its consideration at Wednesday’s board meeting.

If approved Wednesday, the checks would be distributed on Jan. 24.