School Board discusses increased pay for summer school program, redistricting and new calendar

The Natchitoches Parish School Board approved three agenda items to help attract people to staff larger than usual summer school program at its meeting Thursday evening, Feb. 10. The board approved an increase to certified teacher stipends from $25 per hour to $50 per hour effective May 31, 2022, for the 2022 district summer learning program only (Certified = OFAT, TAT, PL, or regular teaching certificate). It also approved a pay rate of $28 per hour for Monitor and Cafeteria Managers as well as a $14 per hour for Cafeteria Technicians during the 2022 District Summer Program. Another motion approved a $5,000 stipend to summer learning site coordinators.

Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi explained to board members that because of the ESSER money the School District is receiving, summer school will be required for all UIRA schools (Urgent Intervention Required due to Academics) or CIR schools (Critical Intervention Required). For any school with this designation, the district is bound by law to offer those students summer school. All the UIRA and CIR schools amount to almost 70-75 percent of students in the district.

According to Eloi, this means summer school is going to be really big.

The staff who will be receiving these pay increases for the summer school program have had a rough year so far. Eloi said he feels it will be hard to attract people to summer school.

In other business, new School Board Representative for District 5 Lela Harvey introduced herself at the committee meeting on Feb. 8. She has 11 grandchildren and is a retired social worker with over 30 years of experience. She has a non-profit organization, Voices for Autism. She described herself as compassionate and happy to serve District 5 to the best of her ability and work with everyone.

The Natchitoches Parish School District is in the process of redistricting. Dannie Garrett with the Louisiana State Bar Association owns a strategic demographics company. The district is working to choose two multi-purpose days to hold a workshop focused on the redistricting effort.

It has taken a year and countless man hours to review salary schedules.

“It is the most important thing you will vote on probably in your entire tenure,” said Superintendent Dr. Grant Eloi. “It is the mechanism that will modernize us quicker than anything else.”

The salary schedules will affect every employee except the superintendent.

“I’m good with that and it’ll affect them positively,” said Eloi. “Every employee in this district whether you’re a custodian, a school food service worker, a secretary, a nurse; every employee will be affected by that.”

Administrators want to sit down with board members and really go through the salary schedules because it is a massive document. Once dates are chosen it will be announced as a meeting open to the public. Eloi said he expects the general public to be more interested in attending the redistricting part of these meetings than the salary schedule part.

The district is also working on creating a calendar. Some employees want more dates after Christmas or longer summers. The next step is to have focus groups of teachers and principals that will come in and look at two different calendars that are being proposed and refine them. Later in the month all school employees with vote on their preference for either Option A or Option B.  Their vote will then go to the board for their consideration and vote at the March board meeting.

“We’re really excited about the calendar options,” said Eloi. “I think they’re going to be pro-teacher but also everything we do now whether it’s discipline or calendar building is all about how this can work toward greater student achievement.”

Other agenda items included:

Motion to approve the 2020-2021 audit report as presented by TCBT Accounting.

Motion to approve out-of-state travel for board members to attend the NSBA conference in San Diego, CA, April 2-4, 2022, and follow all NPSB travel policies and guidelines.